News 23 Jan 15

Bosnian Serb MP Ordered Not to Leave Country

The Bosnian court told Dragomir Vasic, an ex-police chief charged with genocide soon after becoming an MP in the country’s Serb-led Republika Srpska entity parliament, not to leave the country.

Denis Dzidic
BIRN
Sarajevo
Dragomir Vasic.

The state court on Friday ordered Republika Srpska lawmaker Vasic, who is charged with assisting the Srebrenica genocide in July 1995, not to leave Bosnia and Herzegovina and to report periodically to local police.

Vasic was the commander of the Zvornik police headquarters and chief of the Public Security Centre in the town in the summer of 1995, when Bosnian Serb forces killed more than 7,000 men and boys and forcibly removed 40,000 civilians from Srebrenica.

He was elected to the Republika Srpska People’s Assembly in last October’s general elections as a candidate of the Serb Democratic Party founded by Radovan Karadzic, who is on trial in The Hague for genocide in Srebrenica and other crimes during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Vasic’s election as an MP was strongly criticised by families of Srebrenica victims.

The president of the Srebrenica Mothers association, Hatidza Mehmedovic, told BIRN that politicians with wartime baggage have no place in politics.

“All the rights are for the defendants and those with power and the victims get nothing,” Mehmedovic said.

Vasic was charged earlier this month with taking part in the planning and realisation of the genocide by ordering the use of manpower and police equipment for the capture and forcible separation of Bosniak men and boys after the fall of the UN-protected Srebrenica enclave to Serb forces in July 1995.

His defence lawyer Milos Peric argued against the restraining measures, saying that the Bosnian prosecution had been investigating Vasic for ten years already and that his client had already appeared as a witness at numerous trials and “responded to invitations by courts and prosecutions more than 20 times”.

Peric said that Vasic had never tried to avoid responding to invitations to appear in front of courts or other bodies before, and pointed out that Vasic was an MP, so a ban on leaving his place of residence might jeopardise his family income.

“He wants this to be over. He is responsible to his family and the voters,” Peric said.

Vasic also appealed for a swift conclusion to the case.

“It is in my interest for the court to end this agony for me and my family,” he told the court.

The indictment against Vasic also charges Danilo Zoljic and Radomir Pantic, former commander of Special Police Units in Zvornik and former commander of the first platoon of the Special Police Units respectively, with genocide in Srebrenica.

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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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