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SERBIA CONVICTS SCORPIONS (MAXIMUM SENTENCE)

April 10, 2007
BELGRADE – Belgrade’s War Crimes Court announced the verdicts in the trial of five men accused of 1995 war crimes in Srebrenica area.

The court found the paramilitary unit’s commander Slobodan Medić as well as Branislav Medić guilty and sentenced each to a maximum 20 years in prison sentence.

Another defendant, Pero Petrašević, who confessed to the crime, was sentenced to 13 years in jail, while Aleksandar Medić received a five-year sentence.

Petrašević earlier told the court he felt “the deepest regret” over his actions, and asked for a just punishment.

The fifth accused, Aleksandar Vukov, was acquitted by the trial chamber which found no evidence to support the prosecution’s claim of premeditated murder.

The five Scorpions unit members stood trial for the murder of six Srebrenica Bosniaks in July 1995.

The five were identified in video footage first made public in 2005, as part of prosecution evidence in the Hague trial of Slobodan Milošević.

The unit members themselves made the incriminating video, which showed the execution of the prisoners.

The prosecution in the case tried before the Belgrade court sought maximum penalties for all five defendants, while the defense called for acquittal.

The trial, which started on November 20, 2005, heard testimonies from 21 witnesses.

Trnovo execution, a home movie

B92 TV will this evening air a Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) documentary investigating origin, nature and actions of the Scorpions paramilitary unit, operating in the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia.

A press release issued by the NGO says the documentary used the former unit members’ statements and materials recorded by them in the course of the unit’s campaigns “to demonstrate the functioning of a typical combat unit organized by the security service to do the dirty work in the Balkans wars.”

“This film is also an attempt to cast light on the personal, intimate aspect of the crime,” the release adds.

“The strength of the Scorpions [were] the family ties. We all had family ties and were old friends from school,” Duško Kosanović, a.k.a. Owl, a former Scorpions member, told the documentary’s crew.

“The genocide, that is, the killing of those six Muslim civilians, should be condemned. I would say it’s all been pinned on the Scorpions, but, as the trial has shown and as is known, it wasn’t [the fault of] our commander Boco. Now the Scorpions are smeared and blamed for everything. But there was someone else who ran the operation and who made those mistakes and who is the real guilty party,“ Owl is quoted in the HLC release announcing the film.

Another member, Goran Štoparić, says: “Later on it became like a drug, and a man couldn’t get himself unhooked. Even when you decide not to go to a combat zone, some friend calls and you tell him you’re not going. Then he calls another five and, willy-nilly, you always go.“

The documentary was financially supported by the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and the Swedish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights (SHC).

Archival footage used includes HLC and ICTY materials, as well as the video of the Trnovo execution the Scorpions made themselves.

  1. Anonymous
    April 12, 2007 at 3:13 am | #1

    theres alot more to be discover!

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