News 04 Feb 16

Serbia Jails Bosnian Serb Soldier for Srebrenica Massacre

Bosnian Serb ex-soldier Brano Gojkovic was jailed for ten years after making a plea bargain with the Serbian prosecution, admitting he took part in executing 800 Bosniaks from Srebrenica in 1995.

Marija Ristic, Denis Dzidic
BIRN
Belgrade, Sarajevo
Graves of Srebrenica victims. Photo: Beta.

A Serbian court sentenced Brano Gojkovic to ten years in prison on Thursday after he admitted he was part of a group of troops who killed hundreds of Bosniak civilians in July 1995 in the aftermath of Bosnian Serb forces seizing the town of Srebrenica.

Gojkovic, a former member of the Bosnian Serb Army’s 10th Detachment, is one of seven members of his unit who have so far been convicted of shooting around 800 civilians at a military farm in Branjevo on July 16, 1995.

Bosnian courts sentenced four of them to a total of 112 years in prison for crimes against humanity.

The verdict said they brutally killed the Bosniak men and boys over the course of one day, only taking short breaks to drink beer and eat food in the field where shootings took place.

Two other members of the unit, Marko Boskic and Drazen Erdemovic, admitted their guilt and were sentenced to ten and five years in prison respectively.

A further member of the unit, Aleksandar Cvetkovic, was found not guilty of genocide by the Bosnian court last year.

The Bosnian prosecution expressed dissatisfaction with the Serbian court’s ruling, saying that Gojkovic should have been given a longer prison sentence because he took part in “one of the largest executions in the Srebrenica genocide”.

They also said that Gojkovic should have been tried in Sarajevo because he “does not have Serbian citizenship”.

“We are especially unhappy that Gojkovic did not testify within his plea deal and that the plea agreement was made soon after Bosnia filed an extradition request. Families of Srebrenica victims have also said that they are unhappy with the sentence,” the Bosnian prosecution said in a statement.

The statement also urged Serbian to pick up the pace in other Srebrenica-related investigations.

“There are other members of the Bosnian Serb Army’s 10th Detachment, Zoran Obrenovic alias Maljiv, Ratko Mladic’s assistant Dragomir Pecanac and the commander of the Detachment, Milorad Pelemis – who has given TV interviews – in Serbia,” it said.

“In the interests of justice, we call on the Serbian judiciary to finally prosecute these men or extradite them to Bosnia,” it added.

According to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia’s indictment against Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic, the 10th Detachment was under his command.

Mladic’s trial is ongoing.

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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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