News 13 Feb 13

Bosnia Demands Genocide Convictions for Srebrenica Killers

Prosecutors appealed against a verdict sentencing four former Bosnian Serb fighters to a total of 142 years in prison for crimes against humanity in 1995.

Justice Report
BIRN
Sarajevo

Bosnian prosecutor Dubravko Campara said on Wednesday that he was appealing because the men should have been found guilty of genocide rather than crimes against humanity.

He said that the first instance trial wrongly established that the accused did not have genocidal intent.

“The trial chamber found the accused guilty of crimes against humanity, while the prosecution believes there is enough evidence to convict them as accessories to genocide,” said Campara.

In the first instance verdict issued in June 2012, Stanko Kojic was sentencted to 43 years in jail, Franc Kos and Zoran Goronja to 40 each, and Vlastimir Golijan to 19 years.

The verdict ruled that the defendants, as members of the Bosnian Serb Army’s 10th Sabotage Detachment, executed a group of around 800 men who had been taken from Srebrenica to a military farm at Branjevo on July 16, 1995.

It said that the defendants also participated in the Bosnian Serb attack on Srebrenica before the killings at the Branjevo farm.

The state prosecutor proposed that the appeals chamber should quash the first instance verdict and call a retrial, or issue a new verdict finding the defendants guilty of genocide.

Defendant Franc Kos also appealed, calling for the verdict to be changed to war crimes against the civilian population or war crimes against prisoners of war, giving him a lesser sentence.

He said he did not agree with the verdict’s conclusion that he was the commander of the group which carried out the executions at Branjevo, or that he volunteered to take part in the shooting of the prisoners.

“The degree of my guilt and the guilt of my colleagues is less than the chamber concluded. I extend respect to the victims and their families. They too have the right to know the truth,” said Kos.

Bosnian Serb forces seized the UN-designated ‘safe haven’ of Srebrenica on July 11, 1995, after which more than 7,000 Bosniak men and boys were killed.

The killings were later recognised as genocide by the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

The defence teams for the other defendants will present their appeals on Friday.

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Background

Timeline: Cases for War Crimes in Pec Villages

Timeline of events in the case against 13 former Serb fighters charged with committing war crimes in the villages of Cuska, Zahac, Ljubenic and Pavlan in Kosovo in 1999.

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