News 29 Feb 16

Bosnian Serb Faces Hate Charge for Genocide Denial

The president of the Serb Association of the Missing of the Sarajevo Region, Milan Mandic, was charged with inciting hatred for a statement describing the Srebrenica genocide as “God’s justice”.

Denis Dzidic
BIRN
Sarajevo
Milan Mandic during a TV interview. Source: YouTube.

The state prosecution charged Mandic on Monday with inciting national, racial or religious hatred among the ‘constituent peoples’ of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs) for a statement he gave in 2014 in which he denied that the massacres of Bosniaks from Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces were genocide.

The prosecution also charged ELTA television, which broadcast Mandic’s statement, with the same crime.

In his statement, Mandic implied that the 1995 massacres of Bosniaks were divine retribution for the killings of Serbs in the Srebrenica area in previous years.

“A horrible crime took place in Srebrenica in 1992 and 1993 against Serbs living in [the villages of] Skelani, Potocari, Kravica and Bratunac, and God’s justice arrived in 1995,” he said.

Mandic told BIRN that he was provoked to give this statement by Bosniak victims’ representatives who were “always criticising [Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity] Republika Srpska and never honouring Serb victims”.

“I have listened to their insults and their denials that over 3,500 Serbs died in the Srebrenica region in 1992 and 1993, and enough was enough. I said what I said and I stand by it,” Mandic said.

After the indictment was confirmed, Mandic has two weeks to file objections before giving his plea.

The president of the Mothers of Srebrenica association, Hatidza Mehmedovic, told BIRN that she was pleased that an indictment was raised for denying the genocide, but said that the problem was much bigger than one individual’s statement.

“The genocide was systematic, and so is the denial of this crime,” Mehmedovic said.

If found guilty of inciting hatred, Mandic could receive a sentence ranging from three months to three years in prison.

Bosnia and Herzegovina does not have a specific law forbidding the denial of genocide and crimes against humanity.

A draft law has been put before the state-level parliament several times, but voted down by lawmakers from Republika Srpska, where the issue of whether Srebrenica constitutes genocide is contested despite verdicts from both international and domestic courts.

In July 1995, Bosnian Serb forces attacked the UN-protected area, killed more than 7,000 men and boys, and expelled 40,000 women, children and elderly people.

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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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