Jezik / Language:
10 July 2013

Srebrenica Killers Jailed For 553 Years so Far

Selma Učanbarlić BIRN BiH Sarajevo

The ICTY and Bosnia’s state court have together convicted 27 persons for the 1995 atrocity, with nine judgments still pending before the state court.

 So far, the Hague Tribunal and the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina have sentenced27 persons to a total of 553 years in prison for genocide and other crimes committed in Srebrenica 18 years ago.

Until now, seven persons were sentenced by first-instance verdicts before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, in The Hague.

The maximum penalty imposed before that court was for Radislav Krstic, former deputy commander of the Drina Corps of the Army of the Republika Srpska, VRS,who was jailed in 2004 for 35 years.

TheVRS took over the Bosniak (Muslim) enclave of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia on July 11, 1995.

Most of the men who were separated in nearby Potocari and caught while trying to cross over to territory held by the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ABiH, were kept in nearby Bratunac for one to three days before being executed.

According to court judgments, over 7,000 Bosniak men and boys from Srebrenica were killed in July 1995. About 25,000 women and children were transported to territory controlled by the ABiH.

Most of theplaces where the victims from Srebrenica were executed were in the area of responsibility of the Zvornik Brigade of the VRS.

DraganObrenovic, chief of staff and deputy commander of the Zvornik Brigade, was sentenced to 17 years’ prison by the Hague Tribunal in December 2003.

“Thousands of innocent victims were killed. The graves and the refugees have stayed.Everything was destroyed. It was a general disaster. I bear part of the responsibility for this, too. The disaster remains to both sides as a reminder that, hopefully, this should never happen anywhere again,” Obrenovic told the Hague Tribunal.

So far, 20 persons have been sentenced by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina to a total of 435 years of imprisonment.

Milorad Trbic,former chief of security of the Zvornik Brigade of the VRS, was also sentenced before this court.

He was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2011 and was the first person convicted of genocide.

Until now, eight persons admitted guilt for the crimes committed in Srebrenica.

The first was Drazen Erdemovic, former member of the Tenth Sabotage Detachment of the VRS.

In 1998he was sentenced to five years in prison for shooting civilians at Military Economy in Branjevo in the municipality of Zvornik.

“I had to do it. If I refused it, they would have killed me together with those people,” he said.

“WhenI refused to do it, they would have told me: ‘If you are feeling sorry, stand with them so that we can kill you, too,” Erdemovic added.

This year, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina sentenced four more members of the Tenth Sabotage Detachment, who, together with Erdemovic, executed the shootings of men from Srebernica in Branjevo, to a total of 112 years of imprisonment.

One of them, Franc Kos, said during his testimony: “We were killing the men in groups of ten who the military police took from the bus.

“Prisoners from the first two buses had their hands tied, and I think that the others had their eyes bandaged. It took us one hour to shoot the persons from one bus.”

Nine persons indicted for crimes in Srebrenica are still awaiting the completion of legal proceedings before the ICTY.

Among them are Radovan Karadzic, the former President of Republika Srpska, and Ratko Mladic, former commander of the Main Staff of the VRS. Both are indicted for genocide.

Nine persons indicted for genocide and other crimes committed in Srebrenica are still on trial before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


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