Both the prosecution and the defence appealed the first instance verdict under which Momir Pelemis and Slavko Peric were sentenced to 16 and 19 years in prison, respectively, for the crimes in Srebrenica.
The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina asked for longer prison sentences, while the defence teams called for a verdict of release or retrial, saying that the first instance trial was not fair.
“The verdict is grounded, but not all of the circumstances and the gravity of committed crime of genocide have been taken into consideration,” the prosecutor, Erik Larson, said.
Under the first instance verdict of November last year, Pelemis was sentenced to 16 and Peric to 19 years in prison for having assisted in the commission of genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995.
Pelemis, former Deputy Commander of the First Battalion of Zvornik Brigade, and Peric, former Assistant Commander for Security with that unit, were found guilty of having assisted in the murder of at least 1,000 Bosniak men in the Pilica area, in the Zvornik municipality.
In their appeals the defence said that Pelemis and Peric did not know that the Bosniak men, who were detained in the Kula school building and the Cultural Center in Pilica, would be killed.
“Pelemis was just informed that those prisoners would be brought and exchanged later on,” the defence attorney, Milos Peric, said, adding that not a single piece of evidence was presented during the trial that would prove that any of the members of the First Battalion participated in the murder of prisoners.
Peric’s lawyer, Modrag Stojanovic, said that the trial was not fair and that “the sentence against Peric was inappropriate”.
Pelemis addressed the Appellate Chamber, saying that he “felt sorry for each lost life,” while Peric said that he “was in a wrong place at a wrong time”.
The Appellate Chamber will render its decision concerning the appeals at a later stage.
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.