BOSNIA OPENS SREBRENICA GENOCIDE TRIAL
May 10, 2006
Bosnia war crimes court opens first genocide trial
SARAJEVO – Bosnia’s war crimes court on Tuesday launched the trial of 11 Bosnian Serbs charged over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Bosniaks, its first genocide trial since it opened last year.
The former army officers and special policemen are accused of killing over 1,000 Bosniak men aged between 16 and 60 while they were trying to escape the eastern United Nations-protected enclave on July 13, 1995.
Prosecutor Ibro Bulic said 8 of the men fired their machine guns at the prisoners, one threw hand grenades at them and another reloaded the ammunition.
The victims were first buried in a nearby mass grave and transferred to Glogova and Zeleni Jadar mass grave sites two weeks later in order to hide the crime, Bulic said. Some bodies were found after the 1992-95 war.
“The prosecution will ask the court to declare these men guilty so that a small step towards meeting justice can be made,” Bulic said in his introductory remarks.
Milenko Trifunovic, one of the men accused of firing his machine gun, and Milos Stupar, commanders of two special police squads engaged in the operation, were charged with individual criminal responsibility for failing to intervene and protect the prisoners.
The 11 accused were arrested last year and all have pleaded not guilty to the charges.Their indictment brings to 36 the number of those charged for the Srebrenica massacre, Europe’s worst atrocity since World War Two.
The U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague has also charged 19 people for the massacre. Six have been convicted and nine are on trial or awaiting trial.
The masterminds, Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander Ratko Mladic, remain at large nearly 11 years after being indicted.