News 10 Sep 15

Serbia Charges Ex-Policemen with Srebrenica Killings

The Serbian prosecution charged eight former Bosnian Serb policemen with war crimes over the killings of more than 100 Bosniaks from Srebrenica in July 1995.

Marija Ristic
BIRN
Belgrade
The warehouse in Kravica where the shootings took place. Photo courtesy of the Serbian war crimes prosecutor's office.

Eight former members of a police special brigade from Bosnia’s Serb-led entity Repubika Srpska were indicted on Thursday for committing a war crime against civilians in an agricultural warehouse in the village of Kravica near Srebrenica on July 14, 1995.

Nedeljko Milidragovic, Aleksa Golijanin, Milivoje Batinica, Aleksandar Dacevic, Bora Miletic, Jovan Petrovic, Dragomir Parovic and Vidosav Vasic are accused of organising and participating in the shooting of more than 100 civilians in the warehouse.

The eight men were arrested in March in Serbia and have been in custody since then.

So far more than 1,300 civilians who were massacred in the warehouse in Kravica in July 1995 have been identified - Bosniak prisoners captured after Srebrenica fell to Bosnian Serb forces. Their bodies were found in several mass graves in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Bosnian prosecution previously launched genocide indictments against Milidragovic and Golijanin, but couldn’t arrest them because they have been living in Serbia since the war in Bosnia ended in 1995.

After Serbia and Bosnia signed a protocol on cooperation in war crimes in 2013, evidence from the Bosnian prosecution was transferred to Belgrade.

The Bosnian prosecution praised its Serbian counterpart in a statement issued on Thursday, saying the indictment was the result of joint work on war crimes prosecutions.

According to the charges filed by the Bosnian prosecution, Milidragovic, a former commander of a squad from the Bosnian Serb police special brigade’s Jahorina Training Centre, and Golijanin, a former deputy commander of a Jahorina Training Centre squad, committed genocide against Bosniaks from Srebrenica between July 10 and July 19, 1995.

However, the Serbian prosecution said it couldn’t prove the genocide charges laid by the Bosnian prosecutors and instead charged the men with committing a war crime.

More than 7,000 Bosniak men and boys were killed after Bosnian Serb forces overran the UN-protected ‘safe zone’ of Srebrenica - a crime which has been classified by international court verdicts as genocide.

This is the first case to be prosecuted in Serbia related to the 1995 massacres.

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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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