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22 April 2014
News

Bosnian Serb Leadership ‘Ordered Srebrenica Prisoners’ Deaths’

Dzana Brkanic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
The mass murders of Bosniaks from Srebrenica were committed as a result of a “command from the top”, the genocide trial of former Serb fighter Aleksandar Cvetkovic was told.
The testimony about the alleged command to kill all the Srebrenica detainees, given to the Hague Tribunal by now-deceased Bosnian Serb war crimes convict Miroslav Deronjic, was read out at Cvetkovic’s trial in Sarajevo on Monday.

Deronjic, who died in 2007, said in his Hague testimony that was appointed civil commissioner for Srebrenica on July 11, 1995, just before the massacres.

On July 13, he made contact with Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic - who is on trial in The Hague for genocide in Srebrenica and other crimes - to consult him about what to do with the prisoners from Srebrenica being held in Bratunac, who, he said, represented a threat.

Deronjic said that Karadzic told him that someone would come to take responsibility for the prisoners. That night, Colonel Ljubisa Beara, the former chief of security with the Bosnian Serb Army’s Main Headquarters, came to his office in a drunken state and told him that “the prisoners should be killed” and that this was “a command from the top”.

According to Deronjic, several days earlier he also met Karadzic, who told him that the prisoners should be executed.

Beara was jailed for life for genocide by the Hague Tribunal in 2010, but is currently appealing.

Cvetkovic’s defence said that if Deronjic was alive, it would ask him several questions, including whether he knew about the plan for Srebrenica in 1995, if he was drunk and what he knew about 10th Commando Squad of the Bosnian Serb Army, of which which the defendant was a member.

Cvetkovic is charged with participating in the killings of at least 900 people from Srebrenica at Branjevo farm.

The trial continues on May 13.

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