Global Policy Forum

Seven Serb Officers on Trial


People's Daily Online
July 14, 2006

Seven senior Bosnian Serb military and police officers went on trial at the United Nations (UN) war crimes tribunal in The Hague on Friday for their role in a massacre in former Yugoslavia. They are accused of killing over 7,000 Bosnian Muslims from the UN-protected enclave of Srebrenica in 1995.

The case is the largest joint trial conducted so far at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The first day of the trial is devoted to procedural matters. As Friday is the last day before the tribunal's summer recess, opening statements of the prosecution are expected on Aug. 21 after the summer break.

According to court documents published on the ICTY's website, five of the seven men on trial are charged with genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The indictment accused them of being part of a joint criminal enterprise to "murder able-bodied Muslim men" by forcibly separating over 1,000 men from their families in Potocari, just north of Srebrenica, where they had fled when the Srebrenica enclave fell to Bosnian Serb army forces in July 1995.

The five are also accused of capturing over 6,000 others and transporting them to other sites where they were summarily executed. They are also accused of forcibly transferring women and children to "create conditions... that would contribute to the destruction of the entire Muslim population of eastern Bosnia."

The five are Ljubisa Beara, the chief of security of the main staff of the Bosnian Serb army, Ljubomir Borovcanin, the deputy commander of the Bosnian Serb special police, Vinko Pandurevic, the commander of the Zvornik brigade that led the attack on Srebrenica, Drago Nikolic, the chief of security of the Zvornik brigade, and Vujadin Popovic, an officer allegedly responsible for managing the military police.

The other two of the seven are Radivoje Miletic and Milan Gvero, a deputy chief of staff and an assistant commander of the Bosnian Serb army respectively. They face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, persecution, forcible transfer and deportation.

All seven suspects had previously appeared individually before the court and pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. So far, the ICTY have sentenced six former members of the Bosnian Serb army for their part in the Srebrenica massacre.

More Information on International Justice
More Information on the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia
More Information on Ratko Mladic
More Information on Radovan Karadzic


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