Jezik / Language:
30 May 2013

Verdict for Momir Pelemis Due June 13

Amer Jahic BIRN BIH Sarajevo

Presenting their closing statements at the retrial of Momir Pelemis, who is charged with genocide in Srebrenica, the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina calls for a verdict of conviction, while the Defence calls on the Court to pronounce a verdict of release.

The Appellate Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina will pronounce the verdict on June 13.

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina considers that it has proved that indictee Pelemis was familiar with the plan for genocide made by key participants in the joint criminal enterprise, and that he assisted in the murder of about 1,500 captured men in Srebrenica.

“He could have acted in a different way, but he chose to participate in genocide,” Prosecutor Predrag Tomic said.

According to the charges, in mid-July 1995 captives from Srebrenica were brought to Pilica village, near Zvornik, and detained in a school building and Cultural Centre where they were guarded by members of the First Battalion with the Zvornik Brigade of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, until their shooting.

The Prosecutor said that Pelemis, former Deputy Commander of the First Battalion, helped in the commission of genocide by sending soldiers to the school building and cultural centre in order to guard the captives, ordering Slavko Peric to supervise the soldiers and organizing the acquisition of ammunition that was used for executions.

“Pelemis sent the soldiers, while Peric controlled them,” the Prosecutor said.

According to the charges, the captives were transported from the school building to nearby Branjevo locality, where they were shot, while another group of captives was killed inside the Cultural Centre.

Peric, former Assistant Commander for Security with the First Battalion, was sentenced, under a second instance verdict, to 11 years in prison for having assisted in the commission of genocide. The Appellate Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina quashed a first instance verdict, under which Pelemis was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment.
On the other hand, Pelemis denied having participated in genocide, saying that he did not know about the plan for execution of Srebrenica residents.

“I was not present at the locations to which the captives had been brought. I was not present at the locations where mass liquidations of the captives took place,” he said.

His Defence attorney Milos Peric said that the evidence proved that the indictee only knew that between 100 and 200 captives would be brought to the school building on July 14 and that they would be exchanged the following day. He said that Pelemis requested that food be provided for them and asked that they be transported away from Pilica on July 15.

“Had he known that they would be killed and wanted them to be killed, he would not have acted in that manner,” the Defence attorney said, adding that Pelemis stayed in a command building, which was about 18 kilometres away from Pilica, during those days.

The Defence alleges that Peric received orders from “those who were in charge of prisoners”, in other words, officers working with security bodies.  

According to the Defence attorney, the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina has neither proved that Pelemis requested the ammunition nor that the request had anything to do with the executions.
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