The trial of Ostoja Stanisic and Marko Milosevic charged with taking part in the Srebrenica genocide in July 1995 began with the reading of the indictment and opening arguments by the prosecution.
The international prosecutor, Eric Larson, said that Stanisic and Milosevic assisted the plan to expel and murder the Bosniak population on the territory of Srebrenica, and that they committed genocide.
Stanisic and Milosevic are charged with taking part in crimes at the Petkovci dam, near Djulici [municipality of Zvornik], where around 1,000 imprisoned Bosniak men and boys from Srebrenica were executed in July 1995. This is the first trial for the murders in Petkovci before the Bosnian State Court.
The indictment specifies that Stanisic was the commander of the 6th Battalion of the Zvornik Brigade of the Army of Republika Srpska, and Milosevic his deputy.
In his opening argument, Larson said that the prosecution would prove that the defendant played a key role in the carrying out of the genocidal plan.
“We will show that Stanisic organised the cleaning of Petkovci, that the 6th Battalion’s cisterns were brought in to wash off the blood and body parts. The evidence will show that several Bosniaks were brought in to help with all of that, before they were killed,” said Larson.
The prosecution announced it would prove that the defendant Milosevic “carried out the genocidal plan in Djulici and Petkovci.”
“Stanisic instigated abuse of prisoners before they were executed. The evidence will show that soldiers took Muslims from the school in order to execute them and they did it for fun,” said Larson.
The prosecution would enter “thousands” of exhibits into evidence, some of which would show that the genocide was planned, and that the defendants knew about it.
The defence teams did not present their opening arguments, but they briefly commented on the prosecution's opening statement.
Stanisic's defence stated that it would contest that the plan of execution of prisoners existed, and that they would prove that the 6th Battalion fought on the front lines and that the defendants took part in those battles.
Petko Pavlovic, Milosevic’s lawyer, said he expected “the prosecution and defence to be treated equally in the process”, and the defendant to be granted the right to an additional defence attorney.
The Trial Chamber, presided over by Judge Stanista Gluhajic, announced it would visit the scene of the crime the following day, while the examination of the first prosecution witness was planned for October 24.
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.
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.
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.
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.