News 07 Jan 13

Bosnian Serb Jailed for Srebrenica Genocide

A Sarajevo court upheld the jailing of a Bosnian Serb army officer over the 1995 Srebrenica killings but cut his sentence.

Denis Dzidic
BIRN
Sarajevo

The appeals chamber of the Bosnian state court endorsed the conviction of Slavko Peric, a former assistant commander, but reduced his prison sentence from 19 to 11 years.

It also quashed the conviction of a second defendant, Momir Pelemis, who had been sentenced to 16 years at the original court hearing, and ordered a retrial.

Pelic and Pelemis were originally convicted in October 2011 of assisting the commission of genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995.

The first trial ruled that Peric, former assistant commander for security with the Zvornik brigade’s first battalion, and Pelemis, former deputy commander with the same unit, assisted in the murder of at least 1,000 Bosniak men who had been transferred to the Pilica area from Srebrenica after the Bosnian Serb army attacked.

According to the charges, Pelemis and Peric were knowing participants in a joint criminal enterprise with a common plan to permanently and forcibly transfer from Srebrenica the entire Bosniak civilian population, and to capture, detain, forcibly transfer, summarily execute and bury the enclave’s able-bodied Bosniak men and boys.

During the men’s appeals, the prosecution asked for longer prison sentences, while the defence teams called for a release or retrial, saying that the original trial was not fair.

According to a court statement, Peric’s sentence was reduced because the appeals chamber sentenced him under Yugoslav rather than Bosnian law.

The old Yugoslav law was still in effect in 1995, when the Srebrenica massacre took place, while the Bosnian law was adopted in 2003 and carries harsher penalties.

The appeals chamber ruled that Pelemis must remain in custody pending his retrial.

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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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