News 20 Jun 17

Swiss Politician Convicted of Srebrenica Genocide Denial

A Swiss court found Donatello Poggi, a local politician in the canton of Ticino, guilty of racial discrimination because he wrote that the 1995 genocide of Bosniaks from Srebrenica was a lie, media reported.

Danijel Kovacevic
BIRN
Banja Luka
One of the articles about Srebrenica that led to the conviction of Donatello Poggi.

Swiss politician Donatello Poggi lost an appeal last week against his conviction for racial discrimination and was given a two-year suspended prison sentence, Bosnian media reported on Monday.

The court found on June 13 that Poggi published two opinion articles on the Corriere del Ticino and TicinoLibero websites in which he refused to admit that the massacres of Bosniaks from Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995 constituted genocide.

Poggi wrote in the articles, published in 2012, that the genocide claims were “propaganda lies” and that Serbs not Bosniaks were the greatest victims of the Bosnian war, according to media reports.

The judges concluded that the articles were biased and discriminatory and offered no serious arguments or evidence, and that this amounted to an act of racial discrimination.

Poggi was initially convicted in his first-instance trial in May 2016, and the appeal judges upheld that ruling.

He was given a two-year suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay a fine.

The ruling comes as Bosnian politicians are locked in a dispute over a proposed law to criminalise genocide denial in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The proposal is strongly opposed by Bosnian Serbs, who argue that the massacres were not genocide, despite verdicts handed down by local and international courts.

In 2004, in the case against the former Bosnian Serb Army general Radislav Krstic, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague ruled that the 1995 mass killings of Bosniaks from Srebrenica constituted genocide.

This ruling was endorsed by the International Court of Justice in 2007 in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina vs. Serbia and Montenegro.

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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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