The Bosnian State Court acquitted Dragan Neskovic and Zoran Ilic of charges that they committed a crime against humanity in Srebrenica in July 1995.
The Trial Chamber decided that the prosecution failed to prove that Neskovic and Ilic, as members of the Jahorina Training Centre with the Special Police Brigade of Republika Srpska, took part in capturing Bosniaks and transporting them to the agricultural cooperative in Kravica near Bratunac, where around 1,000 of them were murdered.
The presiding judge, Minka Kreho, said that the witness statements about the alleged participation of the defendants in crimes contained significant discrepancies, errors, and that their credibility was in question.
Neskovic was charged with ordering two members of the Centre to kill two Bosniak prisoners in Kravica. According to the Chamber’s assessment, the protected witness NI-104, who at the trial said that he and S-115 killed two prisoners, described this event in order “to reduce his own criminal responsibility”.
“The witnesses NI-104 and S-115 do not agree about the issuing of that order. The court could not establish whether such order existed at all,” said Kreho.
The prosecution also charged Neskovic with being in the firing squad when the prisoners were executed in front of the storage in Kravica, which is situated by the road.
“The protected witness NI-102 said that he, Neskovic and other members stood by the road. He did not see who fired, and no one except him confirmed Neskovic’s participation in the firing squad,” said the verdict.
Regarding the charges that Neskovic took part in the forced expulsion of civilians and separation of women from men who were later killed on July 12 and 13 in Potocari, the Chamber concluded that it was not proven the defendant knew about the intent.
Ilic was acquitted of charges that after executing prisoners in front of the warehouse in Kravica he additionally shot at the dead bodies.
Ilic was also acquitted of the charge that on July 17, he killed a Bosniak prisoner in Jelah. The judge explained that the protected witness, NI-101, could not confirm with certainty that Ilic was the one who committed the murder.
There is a possibility of appeal to this verdict.
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.