News 29 Dec 17

Bosnian Serb Ex-Minister Charged with Srebrenica Crimes

Former Bosnian Serb Interior Minister Tomislav Kovac was charged with controlling all the police forces involved in the mass executions of Bosniaks from Srebrenica in 1995.

Danijel Kovacevic
BIRN
Banja Luka
Tomislav Kovac in a TV interview in 2014. Photo: YouTube/printscreen.

The Bosnian prosecution on Friday charged Tomislav Kovac with war crimes, alleging that as interior minister of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska and commander of its police force, he controlled all the police forces involved in the war crimes against Bosniaks from Srebrenica.

The indictment alleges that police units under his control participated in the capture of Bosniak men and boys, their forcible imprisonment, transportation and mass executions at several locations.

The execution sites included Kravica, Cerska, the House of Culture in Pilica, Branjevo farm, Sandic, Konjevic Field, and other locations where mass and individual shootings of captured Bosniak civilians were carried out.

Kovac currently lives in the Serbian capital Belgrade and has citizenship of both Serbia and Bosnia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The indictment was forwarded to the Bosnian state court for confirmation.

Kovac was expected to testify at the trial of five former Bosnian Serb fighters in Sarajevo in September 2015, but his testimony was suspended when the state prosecution announced that he was under investigation for the same crimes as the defendants.

The five defendants, Dragomir Vasic, Miodrag Josipovic, Branimir Tesic, Danilo Zoljic and Radomir Pantic, were on trial for genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995.

They are charged with participating or assisting in the forcible resettlement of the population of Srebrenica and for capturing and executing men and boys in Bratunac, Srebrenica and Zvornik.

When prosecutor Ibro Bulic said that Kovac was suspected of the same crimes as the defendants, Kovac, who was testifying via video link from Belgrade, said he wasn’t aware of the allegations against him.

He then said he was no longer prepared to testify as a result.

However, in November 2016, Kovac did testify in the case, again via video link from Belgrade.

He denied that the Republika Srpska police participated in the crimes in Srebrenica.

More than 7,000 Bosniak men and boys were killed in July 1995 after Bosnian Serb forces overran the UN-protected ‘safe zone’ of Srebrenica - a crime which has been classified by international court verdicts as genocide. 

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Background

Srebrenica: Genocide Reconstructed

In July 1995 Srebrenica was shelled and occupied by the Army of Republic of Srpska,VRS, despite being declared a protected area by the United Nations. More than 7,000 people were killed, the victims of genocide.

Ratko Mladic: The Force Behind the Srebrenica Killings

The Bosnian Serb commander’s role in the genocide committed in Srebrenica is described in detail in many indictments and verdicts pronounced before local and international judicial institutions.

The Indictment Against Ratko Mladic

Indictments in 1995 and 2000, further amended in 2002 and 2010, charge the former commander of the Republika Srpska Army with genocide and other crimes.

Ratko Mladic: From Promising Officer to Bloodstained Warlord

When Mladic ordered his army to bomb the people of Sarajevo until they ‘go insane’, he revealed the murderous intentions that would culminate in the Srebrenica massacre.

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