Home > srebrenica massacre > MORE ARRESTS OF SERB WAR CRIMINALS IN THE USA

MORE ARRESTS OF SERB WAR CRIMINALS IN THE USA

April 7, 2007

BUTCHERS OF SREBRENICA HIDING IN THE UNITED STATES

GREENSBORO – Ugljesa Pantic, Milivoje Jankovic, and Veselin Vidacak were charged with lying on their immigration forms about serving in the military. All three are Bosnian Serbs living in High Point.

Their names turned up at the Hague on a list of soldiers involved with a notorious brigade of Serbian forces responsible for Srebrenica massacre.

In federal court filings, the government says all three confessed to lying on their immigration forms to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

The men’s arrests were part of a national sweep to detain men who served in the military of the Republic of Srpska [Serb political entity which is part of Bosnia and Herzegovina] that immigrated to the United States on refugee status after the war.

In court filings, the government said all three men were part of the Zvornik Brigade, which was responsible for a massacre of over 8,000 Bosniaks at Srebrenica in July 1995.

The three men are expected to go on trial at the end of this month, but a key hearing today could determine how difficult the government’s case will be.

The defendants are trying to exclude important evidence by questioning its veracity. It includes statements made through the Croatian translator and the validity of the Serbian records that list the men as having been in the military.

Jankovic’s and Vidacak’s family declined to comment in the media. All three are being held in a Durham jail pending trial.

No matter what happens with this criminal trial, the men must face similar charges in immigration court in Atlanta. That court has a lower threshold for judgement and could force their deportation — regardless of the outcome of their criminal trial.

If deported, the men would be sent back to Bosnia where it could take years to resolve any potential charges there, Culbertson said.

Military records from a breakaway Serb republic will likely be allowed in the trial of three High Point men accused of lying on their immigration forms, a federal judge said Wednesday. U.S. District Court Judge N. Carlton Tilley said he was inclined to allow army records from the Republic of Srpska.

The United States government alleges the men were part of a brigade responsible for the massacre of thousands of Muslims during the war. The men deny any involvement with the killings.

Tilley also said he likely would allow statements made through interpreters in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, when the men first applied to enter the United States and statements made following their arrests in December.

Tilley did not enter an order but said one would be forthcoming after he reviews the issues again.

His comments came at the end of a daylong evidentiary hearing for the upcoming trial at which the attorneys for the three men challenged the veracity of the military records, as well as the statements the men made through interpreters.

Richard Butler, who spent six years as an investigator for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, testified about the recovery of records from the headquarters of the Zvornik Brigade of the Republic of Srpska in 1998.

Butler now works for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but he was present when the documents were taken for use in war crimes trials.

He explained how records from the seizure were indexed, scanned into electronic format and stored in The Hague, where the tribunal is based.

“With regard to the military records, I’m inclined to allow them,” Tilley said. “They were seized in the brigade headquarters when it was still a functioning brigade. … There’s no reason to falsify them. They have been kept in pristine condition.”

The three men’s attorneys — Scott Coalter, Chris Justice and Krispen Culbertson — also argued that the statements made on the men’s immigration forms were dubious because none of them speak English.

When the forms were filled out in Belgrade, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employee wrote down answers given through an interpreter and the men were told to sign.

Assistant U.S. Attorney L. Patrick Auld argued that the information on the forms was corroborated by statements the men made following their December arrests. Statements the men now deny.

Tilley said those issues could be raised in front of a jury.


More research about Srebrenica genocide suspects hiding in the United States:
1. Phoenix, Arizona – A Mecca for Serb Suspects of Srebrenica Massacre
2. The United States Deports Two Serbs Wanted for Srebrenica Massacre
3. Bosnian Serb Immigrants Failed to Disclose Their Past Service in Genocidal Military
4. Marko Boskic – Srebrenica Murderer
5. Butcher of Srebrenica Wants His Own Admission Kept Silent
6. Srebrenica Massacre Gunman, Marko Boskic, Will Not Face Torture Charges
7. Elusive Justice: A Man Who Gunned Down 1,200 Srebrenica Bosniaks

  1. Owen
    April 7, 2007 at 8:35 am

    The article refers to “Serbian” records. Since it goes on to talk about documents seized from Zvornik Brigade HQ, I presume that’s RS records.

  2. Chris Justice
    May 9, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    Milivoje Jankovic was found NOT GUILTY of charges that he lied on immigration applications Monday in Federal Court. The central issue was whether or not his involvement constituted military service. The jury obviously decided that it did not. What happened in the region was horrible, particularly in Srebrenecia. But there were crimes committed by all sides. And there were victims on all sides. There is NO evidence that any of the three men arrested in Greensboro had anything to do with Srebrenecia or any other war crimes. They were beaten by Bosnian Muslims and displaced from their homes. While trying to flee, they were essentially kidnapped by the VRS and forced to stand on a line. That is not military service. I have learned a lot through this process. The persons responsible for the monumental human suffering in that region should not go unpunished. However, victims that were lucky enough to survive should not be punished further.

    Chris Justice, Attorney for Milivoje Jankovic

  3. Srebrenica Massacre Editor
    May 9, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    Yeah right, Chris. So you used clever defence tactic stating that his alleged forced military service cannot count as military service? So where is the evidence that his military service was forced? The only evidence comes from the mouth of an individual who is on the list of people who participated in Srebrenica genocide. The list is from the International Crimes Tribunal. Obviously, his first line of defence will be to shift the blame to “Muslims” and other “Serbs” who allegedly beat him and forced him into military service. Even Gen Ratko Mladic can use that line of defence and state that he was forced by his leadership to commit crimes etc. Come on Chris, your client should be tried in front of the international judge for complicity in genocide. You haven’t provided one shred of evidence which leads to his innocence. You only acted on a testimony HE gave. Can an alleged war criminals be trusted? No way, especially if they turned up on a list of participants in Srebrenica genocide. Of course, US Jury has not tried him for genocide – they only tried him on a charge of lying on immigration papers.

    Any war criminal will say he or she was forced to do what they did. And as a defence attorney, you represent their interests. In that way – you are natually biased, don’t you think so?

    The names of people you defend turned up on the International Crimes Tribunal’s list of soldiers involved with a notorious brigade of Serb forces responsible for Srebrenica genocide. True, there were victims on all sides, but there was only one genocide – and that was Srebrenica Genocide of over 8,000 Bosniaks.

    When it comes to the allegations of Serb victims, they were grossly misrepresented and overly exaggerated – as already pointed out by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICTY), read here:

    http://srebrenica-genocide.blogspot.com/2007/03/falsification-of-serb-victims-around.html

    So you can’t use moral equivalence as a defence when you point out there were victims on all sides.

    I have to go now, I am busy, if you want to continue this discussion, you are welcome to leave your comments.

    Respectfully,

    Daniel

  4. Owen
    May 10, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    What sort of information was available from the Zvornik Brigade records? Just the names of brigade members or other information like payroll information, period of service, details of deployment. Was any of this sort of information presented to the court?

  5. Anonymous
    May 12, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks for your thoughtful response. I certainly did not mean to imply that the sides were even or that such reasoning was somehow a justification for what happened. I guess fundamentally that is the problem. There were and I’m sure are certain individuals that are keeping a historical scorecard. I also apologize for my use of the term Bosnian Muslims. That is simply a reflection of my somewhat limited knowledge of the region and it’s complexities. Although I would bet that I have more knowledge of the area than most of my countrymen at this point. Many of the terms I use are simply derived from the terms that the government used during the prosecution of these cases.

    I do not agree with your guilt by association argument. There were too many levels of participants and victims to paint every one with such a broad brush. That would be akin to saying that all U.S. soldiers are war criminals for the atrocities committed at Abu Gharib. Or saying that all U.S. soldiers that served in Vietnam were guilty of the massacre at My Lai. That is simply not true. My defense in the case and frankly my personal belief is that SOME of the men caught up in the sweep were not in the military as we would define it for the purpose of the immigration forms in question. And that their experiences made them victims as well. The Bosnian Serbs that fled central Bosnia to VRS territory were used. For the ones that participated in war crime activities (whatever their motivation), shame on them. And as I stated in my closing argument. I hope they are brought to justice. But for the ones that weren’t participants, enough is enough.

    And I don’t think I was incorrect in my assessment of who they were beaten by. I understand that the entire religious ethnic group should not be painted with a broad brush, but Jankovic was not beaten within an inch of his life because he was Milivoje Jankovic. He was beaten because he was a Serbian Orthodox.

    And finally, the documents that you speak of were insufficient to prove the governments case. Reasonable minds can differ as to what defines military service. I suspect that as these case come to trial, you will see a mix of guilty and not guilty based on that one issue. You are correct that the names showed up on military documents. But you have to look at what documents and you have to characterize what a person did during that time. Showing up on a document is not by itself proof. Every male over the age of 18 in the U.S. will show up on at least one military document. That being the Selective Service roster. The documents in the Jankovic case did not indicate a deployment, and the documents contradicted themselves in places.

    Based on the records that were made available, Jankovic was no where near any conflict. That has been verified by detailed maps of the region and corroborated by Mr. Jankovic and the few military documents that made any sense.

    It does appear that we are talking about two different things to a certain extent. No one on my team to include Mr. Jankovic is denying that genocide took place. All of the war crimes need to be investigated and prosecuted. It does none of us any good to pretend that it didn’t happen. But self examination is JUST as important as finger pointing.

    Thanks for the opportunity to respond.

    Chris Justice

    910 N. Elm Street

    P.O. Box 5442

    Greensboro, NC 27435

    (336) 275-5885

    FAX (336) 275-6045

    E-mail to justicelaw@att.net *** ATT.NET uses an overly aggressive e-mail filtering program that may cause e-mails sent from certain IP addresses or Domains to “bounce back”. If your e-mail is rejected, please send to chrisjusticelaw@hotmail.com.

    Website http://www.mckinneyandjustice.com

  6. Anonymous
    May 12, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    I’m going to remain anonymous but I want to let anyone interested in this issue know that I was on the Jury for the trial against Mr. Pantic and we found him guilty yesterday (May 11). It came down to the fact that it was his burden to list any service, no matter how minor, on the I485 form. Whether or not he understood what was written, it was ultimately his responsibility to verify that the information was correct. None of us believed that he committed atrocities and I think many of us feel sorry for what he apparently has gone through in his life but the law is the law. We did not see any government evidence that he participated in the massacres and that was in fact not a part of this case. If he is in fact not guilty of these crimes, I sincerely hope he will have the chance to clear his name in the future.

  7. Bernard Hibbitts
    May 14, 2007 at 1:22 am

    “Assistant U.S. Attorney L. Patrick Auld argued that the information on the forms was corroborated by statements the men made following their December arrests. Statements the men now deny.”

    Why are they changing their original testimonies?

  8. Samira
    May 14, 2007 at 3:29 am

    Dragan Jokic was the chief engineer of the Zvornik brigade in which Milivoje Jankovic served. Jokic was found guilty of helping organise the burials and reburials of thousands of executed Muslims.

    http://www.un.org/icty/indictment/english/blajok-jud070509.pdf

    Uhmm… If the burials and reburials do not constitute military service within Jokic’s command, then what does?

    Confused!

  9. Daniel
    May 14, 2007 at 6:20 am

    Dear Chris,

    I would like to thank you for your kind response to my e-mail. I appreciate your dedication to your clients as well as your recognition of Srebrenica genocide. I would also like to thank your client for recognizing Srebrenica massacre as a genocide. Personally, I am thankfull to people who recognize horrible genocide that happened in Srebrenica. Since you stated you have somewhat limited knowledge of the region, I will quickly give you a short overview of problems and sensitivities with the events in the area.

    As you know, genocide is extremely hard (almost impossible) to prove. In a case of Srebrenica, both the International Crimes Tribunal (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Srebrenica massacre was a genocide. However, the Srebrenica genocide denial is continuing at a rapid pace by individuals and groups who consider themselves above the international law (even though they were never trained in legal issues). These individuals and groups promote outright untruths (conspiracy theories) mixed with outdated information (which is usually taken out of context) and used to support their genocide denial conclussions. That is exactly the reason I get so emotional to the sensitive issues of war crimes. Genocide victims have also told me they experience sadness and pain when they stumble upon genocide denial material on the internet.

    Some genocide denial claims come from Serb individuals and some from those who considered themselves on the “left-apologist” side of political spectrum (mostly those who tirelessly criticise the US foreign policy in the Middle East, Balkans, and elsewhere). If you do a little bit of research on the internet about Srebrenica, you will most likely get caught up in a web of grossly one-sided genocide denial websites with ‘convincing’, although completely false arguments that were already rejected by the international justice. The issue of Srebrenica is much more complex to discuss or explain in few sentences. I think that the best place to learn about the events in the region is to consult open encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srebrenica_massacre (which is generally edited several times a day, so if there is any errors they usually get corrected by other editors quickly).

    Fortunately, not all people – and therefore not all Serbs – deny genocide in Srebrenica. There are some Serbs who publicly stood up against genocide denial; some of them have even suffered violent retributions from Serbian nationalists and extremists (e.g. recently, Serbian journalist Dejan Anastasijevic’s place of residence was bomb-attacked because of his reporting about Srebrenica genocide which is vastly considered a “western conspiracy against the Serbs” in Serbia, read here http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1612404,00.html ). Anastasijevic, who writes for the Serbian weekly Vreme, was also a witness at the trial of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic who died just few days before the ICTY was to reach a verdict on his case (note: Milosevic was on trial charged with 66 counts of genocide and crimes against humanity.) Anastasijevic recently criticised Serbia’s war crimes court for its verdict in the case of five Serb members of the Scorpions, who were filmed on tape as they shot dead six Bosniaks captured after the fall off Srebrenica in 1995.

    Additionally, when it comes to the issue of Srebrenica victims – there is an attempt to morally equate two sides, and we have also learned (through the ICTY) that genocide deniers also use tactics to falsify Serb victims in order to boost points for their moral equivalism and genocide denial claims. As an example, Belgrade-based researcher Milivoje Ivanisevic came up with a number of over 3,000 Serb victims around Srebrenica (containing only names, some incomplete, no other identifiable info). The International Crimes Tribunal has stated that the number “does not meet reality” and ICTY puts the number of Serb victims around Srebrenica in hundreds. It is worth noting that Mr Ivanisevic has recently published Srebrenica genocide denial book titled: “Was ‘Srebrenica Genocide’ a Hoax?” in which he publicly denied genocide of over 8,000 Bosniaks in Srebrenica. On the other side, the list of genocide victims in Srebrenica (Bosniaks) is well established containing first/last names, father’s names, dates of births and Yugoslav ID#s (comparable to the US SSN #s) and is checked against and supported by a number of different sources, including DNA. You may read more about the issue of victims at the following locations:

    1. http://srebrenica-genocide.blogspot.com/2006/01/facts-8106-killed-in-srebrenica.html and here
    2. http://srebrenica-genocide.blogspot.com/2007/03/falsification-of-serb-victims-around.html
    3. http://srebrenica-genocide.blogspot.com/2007/05/dna-8000-victims-certainly-not-less.html

    To conclude the point above: nobody denies there were Serb victims in the region, however people like Milivoje Ivanisevic (who openly deny Srebrenica genocide by using already legally discredited untruths), contribute to the ethnic hatred and intolerance in the region. Serbs and Bosniaks would most certainly be able to find more common ground had there no people who continue to distort legally established facts with respect to the Srebrenica genocide. For example, Premier of Republika Srpska (Serb entity in B&H) openly denies genocide.

    Now, to get back to the acquitall of Milivoje Jankovic. Personally, I am not convinced that the US jury has juristiction to adjudicate issues of international justice, or for that reason, issues of the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Whether Mr Jankovic’s service in the Zvornik Brigade of Bosnian Serb Army (which participated in Srebrenica genocide) constituted military service can be best concluded from the documents based on the records of the Serb Army. Now, the issue whether Mr Jankovic was forced into the service or not cannot be a bullet-proof line of defence, because in Bosnia-Herzegovina (also in Serbia and Croatia) military service is compulsory even in peaceful times. In desperate times of war, the rule of military conscription applies (there are similar provisions in the US). Having said that, it is legally (and logically) safe to conclude that Mr Jankovic’s service (in the Brigade that participated in genocide) did in fact constituted military service. Now, the question can be shifted to a more important issue: Had Mr Jankovic committed any crimes as a soldier (e.g. wilfull killings of unarmed / POW’s?). In my opinion, that is the question that should be central issue of the case. However, the US jury did not consider this issue, because Mr Jankovic was not charged with any war crimes related to the genocide; his only charge was that he lied on the US immigration forms to obtain refugee status. While Mr Jankovic was acquitted of lying on immigration forms, Ugljesa Pantic and Veselin Vidacak were convicted – and hopefully they will be deported to Bosnia-Herzegovina to face war-crimes allegations (if any).

    As of my understanding, Mr Jankovic still faces similar charges in immigration court in Atlanta, which could force his deportation. I am not quite sure why the other court needs to rule on this issue, but contrary to claims of defendants, none of them would face torture had they originally been deported to Bosnia-Herzegovina, because the War Crimes Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina is equally represented by Bosniaks/Serbs/Croats, as well as by International Judges. The Court is overseen (and funded by) the United Nations. I believe that the possibility of extradition cannot be defended by “torture” defence argument as that is clearly not in line with any reality.

  10. Shaina
    May 14, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    I feel very under-educated on this case, and I’m sure my question will reflect that lack of knowledge. I appreciate any further insights or information, especially regarding the specific evidence listed on the Zvornik Brigade membership records; as well as the immigration applications etc. I’m sure my question will reflect my lack of knowledge: ;-)

    With regard to the military records and immigration records, what was the difference between the evidence submitted at the Jankovic hearing vs. the Vidacak hearing?

    I’ve read a few articles on the case (very generic articles at best) and the only difference that the articles mention is that Mr. Vidacak seemed much less compossed/more evasive on the stand that Mr. Jankovic. Of course, that gives absolutely no insight into the actual evidence that was submitted into court; particularly evidence regarding the immigration forms etc.

    Thanks.
    P.S. Chris, I’m not sure if you’ll have time to respond to any further commentary, but I do appreciate you already taking the time to add your comments and opinions.

  11. Owen
    May 14, 2007 at 6:50 pm

    Dan, I think it’s worth warning anyone consulting the Wikipedia Srebrenica Massacre article that being Wikipedia it’s always open to amendment and the article has often suffered from the onslaught of determined deniers of the genocide itself and others attempting to minimise the extent of the killings and even justify them. So it’s wise to be careful and double-check anything that sounds controversial. I must say that since we know that the Zvornik Brigade was involved in the atrocities and the organised attempt to conceal them it would be very interesting to know how much came out in court about what the defendants claim their “military service” did or didn’t consist of.

  12. Anonymous
    May 14, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    The actual documentary evidence in the three cases were very different. In Jankovic’s case, there was a reserve roster (indicating who potential servicemen were), a generic Brigade roster that had several hundred names (some showing deployed with 7PB, some not), and another roster with a few hundred names that really didn’t have any info except name, and apparently a number that corresponded to dependents (although the government apparently didn’t know that). There was another document the government didn’t try to admit that was a list of “unemployed” persons. Again, the context of that form was also difficult to understand.

    The point that Daniel rasies re: what consitutes military service is I believe the fundamental issue. It will be a close call in some cases, and it will be a slam dunk in other cases. Even a key government witness acknowledged off the record that it was a close call in some cases.

    What Daniel said is well taken re: compulsory military service and Mr. Jankovic DID admit to his mandatory service on the I-590. But what happened with the VRS was something other than compulsory military service.

    Certain “duties” had the character of police duties, some civilian defense type duties, others were clearly soldier duties. I don’t believe that any of the cases will be identical in terms of what the people did or what documentary evidence exists.

    For example, in Vidacak’s case, there was a military mobilization card. I understand that there is much debate as to what exactly that card truly represents, but I have a feeling that it didn’t resonate well with the jury.

    The “military service” question is made more interesting when you look at the Total National Defense Doctrine which essentially said that ANY ONE capable of fighting will. Including women and older children.

    Re: the statements the men made. I have a real problem with these alleged statements. The questions were pre-drafted by a higher up and then read to an interpretor. The interpretor then asked the accused, and then the accused responded. The American interrogator the wrote the “answers” down. None of them were recorded and the “answers” were not read back to the men.

    Normally I wouldn’t have a problem with a law enforcement officer questioning an accused and writing down the answers. But as I learned through this process, the interpretations are not always precise. And many of the questions were asked in such a way that assumed the answers.

    It is interesting to note that although the pre-drafted questions were written in Serbo-croatian AND English, that the accused WERE NOT provided with the questions while being questioned. Why not just let them fill out the form if the questions were pre-drafted. You would at least have the responses in the accused owned handwriting and it could then be translated.

    I’m not sure where most juries will draw the line as to the definition of military service. I fear that the line will move from case to case. The forms in question should have been more artfully drafted. Rather than say List all military service, they could have said List all military service, affiliations, duties, or contacts with the military. Then we wouldn’t be having this debate.

    Based on the Pantic juror’s comments, it appears that they believed Pantic did engage in military service. I would be very interested in hearing what kept them out 9 hours if he/she would share.

    Chris Justice

  13. Daniel
    May 15, 2007 at 5:45 am

    I forgot to address one more important issue in my last reply, and it really bothers me. You stated: “…but Jankovic was not beaten within an inch of his life because he was Milivoje Jankovic. He was beaten because he was a Serbian Orthodox.”

    Come on, that is an unfair statement which implies generalization and throws a low punch. Mr Jankovic (participant in genocidal army) has claimed he was beaten by “Muslims” most likely because he was trying to win a sympathy of the US jury (and he did, successfully). I would do the same if I were in his shoes, wouldn’t you? The most important question is what evidence (if any) do you have to prove his claims of alleged beatings by “Muslims”? There is a burden of proof that must be satisfied before I would accept his claims of beatings (or anybody’s claims regardless of ethnic background) given the situation in Srebrenica area during war. [Remember: The city was under siege, no food, no humanitarian convoys, no nothing – just desperation, misery, suffering, and Serb bombings of the city – picture yourself in that situation for a moment. I had my share of suffering during war in Bosnia, but it doesn’t even come close to Srebrenica.]

    If I am not mistaken, Mr Jankovic also claimed he was in a concentration camp? He claimed many things to win sympathy of the jury. We would all do the same thing if we were in his place, wouldn’t we? Mr Ugljesa and Mr Vidacak did the same, unsuccessfuly (different jury). There were dozens of Serb-run concentration camps in the Eastern Bosnia, and none of them was run by Bosniaks. As soon as the war began, Bosniak-majority population of Eastern Bosnia was ethnically cleansed and/or placed in various camps, not to mention widespread rapes of women and girls in Foca/Visegrad area. Where was Mr Jankovic at that time? Chopping woods? Yeah right. Of course, forces of Naser Oric did attack surrounding Serb villages (as they should have) because these villages were used as military bases + citizens of Srebrenica needed to get food and save themselves from starvation (Serb Army, in which Mr Jankovic served, refused to let humanitarian convoys into the enclave). During these raids, some innocent Serbs did die; but before these Serbs died, thousands of innocent Bosniaks died in Foca, Bratunac, Visegrad, Zvornik, and other towns and villages of predominantly Bosniak eastern Bosnia. So we need to put events into a proper perspective, without simplifying overly sensitive and overly complex issues.

    I wonder do people have any understanding of what Serb Army did to Bosniaks just because Bosniaks were “Muslims”? And now you are trying to put me on defensive because of unverified claims that Mr Jankovic made during his defence against charges of lying on immigration forms? His service in the army did constitute military service, both legally and morally. Consider this (and you can double-check against other records): Military service was mandatory even in peacefull times (in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia). During desperate war times, there is a rule of military conscription (similar laws exist in the US). So, what is the problem here? It is obvious that his participation in the genocidal army constituted military service.

    I do not prejudge Mr Jankovic. As anybody, he could be innocent – however, his claims are simply not in line with reality. If it doesn’t fit, you must convict – especially after “they” change their original statements. His credibility is running on low batteries. However, since you stated that you and your client recognize Srebrenica genocide, then this gives me hope that there is at least some humanity in Mr Jankovic.

  14. Yakima_Gulag
    May 15, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    I think it’s terribly easy in the U.S. to make accusations against Muslims, ANY Muslims right now. It’s especially easy to do that in the South, where in general people are not knowledgeable about Muslims, and another thing, on military service, even with irregular forces, even when it’s compelled service is reportable.
    If it’s a group considered as a terrorist group, then that is grounds for exclusion from the U.S. I’ve seen this done with for example people who were members of the Provisional or Official IRA, and frankly to be fair in applying such a law, then forces like HVO, VRS, or whatever have to be counted.

    This is quite separate from discussion of human rights violations by an individual, and in general has been applied against individuals who have had their rights violated.

    I think some aspects of this law really should be changed, circumstances of a person’s service with an irregular force should be considered, the character of the individual should be considered, as well as what the irregular force was doing. Was it defensive, or was it an attacking force.

    The Zvornik Brigade was an attacking force and responsible for a LOT of bad stuff.

    Odds are most people involved with it should not be in the U.S.

  15. Anonymous
    May 16, 2007 at 11:47 pm

    I’ve said about all I can on the issue. The evidence Milivoje had that he was beaten and expelled from his home included pictures taken of his burned out home (taken by a relative that went back after the hostilities ended). The evidence also includes scars and bones that didn’t heal right. And why on earth would he and his family flee the home that they had made? Why would they voluntarily become refugees from what was quite legitimately their home? Milivoje never claimed to have been chopping wood as you indicated. I’m not sure where that came from.

    And FYI…the judge in question did not let us talk about the beatings and the severity of his injuries. I’m not sure how other districts will conduct trials, but in this district, I was not allowed to attempt a jury nullification strategy. If you have any doubt about that, order the transcript.

    It is ironic that a site that proclaims itself to be about stopping denial cannot acknowledge that there was enormous suffering by both sides. And ethnic cleansing by both sides.

    This isn’t about Muslims and Christians. ALL sides used religion as an excuse to further a quest for power. Many suffered due to the greed and evilness of a few.

    I hope that the continued dialogue well foster self-examination as well as demand accountability. Most Americans cannot fathom the degree of suffering endured by the victims of what happened in the FRY. But make no mistake…ALL sides have their stories of attrocities.

    The lasting testament will be whether or not ALL sides have FINALLY learned from it. America in the context of the middle east certainly hasn’t. I hope your homelands have.

    Chris Justice

  16. Daniel
    May 22, 2007 at 1:49 am

    Hi Chris,

    As I said earlier, I do not prejudge your client. As anybody on trial, he could be innocent.

    You asked: “Why would they voluntarily become refugees from what was quite legitimately their home?”

    That is a fair question and I have an answer to it, because I went through the same ordeal. It is my understanding that he was originally from Central Bosnia, am I correct? There was a conflict between Croats and Bosniaks there, and many people were displaced, including Bosniaks (not just Serbs). Some forcefully, others voluntarily. I am not going to dispute whether Mr Jankovic’s home was burned down or not, as probability is very high that it was. FYI – houses of my mother, my grandmother, and my relatives were also burned down by Serb Army. If you look at photos of war-time Sarajevo, for example, you will see the extent of destruction – it was burned to the ground as a result of indiscriminate bombings of the city. I will touch this question again bellow.

    You said: “It is ironic that a site that proclaims itself to be about stopping denial cannot acknowledge that there was enormous suffering by both sides. And ethnic cleansing by both sides.”

    This site is about stopping Srebrenica Genocide denial, and neither I nor anybody else associated with this site denies that human rights violations had been committed by all sides. This site is focused on Srebrenica region – region of eastern Bosnia. I don’t see how you or anybody else can claim or imply that Bosniaks committed ethnic cleansing against Serb in the Eastern Bosnia? This is simply not true. If you look at the war-time maps, you will see that Serb Army ethnically cleansed all eastern Bosnia of Bosniaks, and remaining Bosniaks were stuck in 2 enclaves under siege: Srebrenica and Zepa. Furthermore, there is a difference between government supported wide-scale atrocities and individual acts of crimes. The internationally recognized war-time Government of Bosnia-Herzegovina did not support, encourage, or order ethnic cleansing of Serbs. Personally, we know many Serbs here who spent their time in war-time Sarajevo and they are still loyal to the notion of multi-cultural Bosnia-Herzegovina and they don’t support war-time actions of Serb Gen Ratko Mladic and Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. If you look at war-time maps, you will notice that territories under the control of the Government of Bosnia-Herzegovina were under brutal siege from all sides. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people left, including Bosniaks. So there is no wonder Mr Jankovic left his home. Many Bosniaks were ethnically cleansed from Central Bosnia by Croat forces loyal to late Croatian President (and Holocaust denier) Franjo Tudjman.

    Of course, Belgrade-based sources will tell you a totally different story when it comes to war time events, including that Srebrenica Genocide did not happen. They will also use discredited sources (aka: paid Serb lobbyists) such as Gen Lewis Mackenzie, Michael Rose and such to manipulate war-time events and prove Belgrade-based claims. Republika Srpska’s government (aka: leadership of Bosnian Serbs) planned, expelled, transfered into camps and killed non-Serbs in a fashion only resembling the worst kind of human hatred. I was a child when war started and hundreds of Serbs from my community were with us during the war, shielding themselves from Serb bombings of our city; they were with us in building basements during the bombings. Eventually, all of us (Bosniaks, Serbs, Croats from my community) left the country (voluntarily). Why? Because we were sick of the bombings and insecurity that war presented. Were we ethnically cleansed. Yes. By who? By Serb Army. Although we left voluntarily, we would had never left our homes had they not been destroyed by Serb Army’s bombings and had not our life and security been jeopardized by war, hatred, and indiscriminate shelling of the city.

    True, there were individual crimes against Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats – notably by local ex-convict named Caco (example: in Sarajevo). But we are talking about individual lunatics, not the war-time government in Sarajevo. And I hate to say it, but Serbian nationalist propaganda is truly disgusting with their purposeful “out of context” analyzing. Consider the Serbian propaganda about “mujahadeens” in Bosnia. True, there were Arab lunatics in Bosnia; they came through humanitarian convoys, but there was no more than 300 of them. Now do the math: war-time Army of Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina had around 200,000 soldiers (mostly infantry). Now, if you do the math, only 0.15% (yes, zero point fifteen percent) were “mujahadeen” who were not even under active command of the government forces! Some of them were, but not all. But don’t forget, we are talking about 0.15% total. So the argument about “mujahadeens” in Bosnia has collapsed under the burden of proof and common sense.

    On the other side, Serb Army had thousands of Christian extremists (cut-throaters) coming from Greece, Ukraine, Russia, and other Orthodox countries fighting on their side for their (Christian) cause. During the fall of Srebrenica, Serb Gen Ratko Mladic raised the Greek flag in Srebrenica to honor Christian volunteers. So, it is very important that you put these things into perspective. This is overly complicated issue, and cannot be simplified by saying “that there was enormous suffering by both sides”. This implies moral equivalism. Remember – while Serbs suffered, not even one of their cities was under the siege by Bosniaks. I hope you place these events into proper perspective.

    I do, however, agree with your statement: “Many suffered due to the greed and evilness of a few.” You are absolutely right there. For example, if you take a group of 1 million people and assume that 95% of them are nice people, this implies that 5% are bad. Now, 5% out of 1,000,000 people is 50,000 criminals. These 50,000 criminals can break havoc and do tremendous damage, especially when their actions are not sanctioned by their government. As you know, Serb-run war-time government in Bosnia-Herzegovina encouraged ethnic cleansing and crimes against the non-Serbs. So, for the most part, we can blame the government, not the people.

    For example, former war-time Bosnian Serb acting president Biljana Plavsic openly supported crimes against non-Serbs. Here are some of her words:

    “I would prefer completely to cleanse eastern Bosnia of Muslims. When I say cleanse, I don’t want anyone to take me literally and think I mean ethnic cleansing. But they’ve attached this label ‘ethnic cleansing’ to a perfectly natural phenomenon and characterized it as some kind of war crime.”

    As a professor of Biology, Plavsic also concluded that Bosniaks were “genetically deformed.” You can read more here, the article was written by Serb author: http://www.barnsdle.demon.co.uk/bosnia/plavsic.html .

    No science would support such ridiculus concussions of Serb biology professor who happened to be convicted by the International Crimes Tribunal (she is in jail now).

    You said: “But make no mistake…ALL sides have their stories of atrocities.” True, you are absolutely right there. That is why people need to see bigger picture. For example, Serbianna, Serb-run Srebrenica genocide denial web site shows photos of several killed Serbs titled “Srebrenica Massacre Photos”. Most, if not all, of these victims are not from Srebrenica. Videos of beheadings were rejected by the International Tribunal as not authentic, and I wrote about this subject in the past because Serbs took these videos from pro-Chechen website, Kavkaz Net, and portrayed those videos as crimes of Bosniaks against Serbs. Therefore, Serbianna’s discredited claims do give an inacurate impression to the average reader that Serbs actually defended themselves from Bosniaks and that genocide is somehow justified. Remember, Serbs also claimed Bosniaks bombed themselves in Sarajevo (see entry Markale Massacres in Wikipedia). Of course, such accusations are not only discredited by the International Courts, they are also ridiculous. We were under brutal siege in both Sarajevo and Srebrenica – especially in Srebrenica with humanitarian convoys blocked by Serb Army and constant Serb bombings of Srebrenica and the notion that we bombed ourselves and that Serbs just defended themselves from us is probably only comparable to the argument that 2 + 2 = 5. It is not even a good lie, it’s a sick claim from one-sided extremists whose hatred towards Bosniaks (or “Turks” as they like to refer to us) can only be regarded as sickness of extremist minds. Maybe Osama bin Laden’s followers and Serb nationalist extremists could get along well? Probably. Fortunately, we are talking about individuals and groups, not about all people.

    You said: “The lasting testament will be whether or not ALL sides have FINALLY learned from it. America in the context of the middle east certainly hasn’t. I hope your homelands have.”

    I am not quite sure how to answer your last statement. I certainly do not agree with overly one-sided policy of the United States when it comes to the question of Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, I do like the US and regard it in a positive light. I believe that American support for Israel stems from religious reasons, as Israel is regarded as Holy by Biblical standards. According to the influential PEW Research on Religion – the United States is the most religious western democracy. Even more religious than Latin America. France and Germany are one of the most secular countries. Personally, I don’t hold religion important at all; however, it is obvious that many people do. I don’t want to offend anyone with my opinions on religion as I tend to tolerate people’s beliefs as long as they are not hurting other people.

  17. Vedran S.
    May 22, 2007 at 5:52 am

    “The evidence also includes scars and bones that didn’t heal right.”

    Considering he was serving in the Serb army, maybe he was wounded by a bullet or grenade shrapnel in Serb operations around Srebrenica? I was wounded while defending Sarajevo, my bones still haven’t healed right and I stil have scars.

  18. info@genocid.org
    May 22, 2007 at 7:00 am

    In spite of irrefutable evidence of Srebrenica genocide, roughly 75% of Serbs today deny any guilt, and claim that Bosnian Serbs and even neighbouring Serbia was an innocent victims of aggression by Croats, Bosniaks, America, Britain, Germany, NATO…

    But according to CIA, the UN, and leading human rights groups, 90% of atrocities in Bosnia were indeed committed by Serb forces and some units supported and operated under direct orders from the Serbian regime in Belgrade.

    While Serbia was cleared of genocide (in civil court) due to censored evidence, it was certainly not cleared of other human rights abuses instigated by Serbia’s full military (and logistical) support for Bosnian Serb leadership. Serbs of Bosnia were armed to their teeth by Serbia [Yugoslav People’s Army, former 3rd leading military power in Europe], while Bosniaks were faced with the UN arms embargo.

    Srebrenica had been declared a `safe haven’ for Muslim refugees by the United Nations, a place the could take refuge from savage mass murder, rape and expulsion of civilians by Serbs. Muslim refugees were assured they would be protected by the UN if they laid down what few small arms they had.

    The Serbs ignored the UN, stormed the city and methodically slaughtered 8,000 Muslim men and boys. The killing extended over several days, some of which was videotaped by Serbia’s paramilitary ‘Scorpions.’

    Cowardly Dutch UN troops supposedly guarding the refugees took no action to halt the mass killing. They simply stood by while Serb forces rounded up thousands of civilians and took them off to be executed.

    Calls for NATO air strikes to end the atrocity were blocked by France and Britain, who were covertly backing Serbia while officially protesting its crimes. Both were seeking political influence and arms sales to what they assumed would be an expanded, post-war Serbia.

  19. Owen
    May 26, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    Dan, is Milivoje Jankovic a common name? What was the date of Jankovic’s arrival in the US?

    I came across the followig at http://www.kosovo.net/archive_aug.html (I don’t suppose the same Jankovic could have been on the rolls of the Zvornik Brigade and a paramilitary group?):

    Kosovo: Allegation That Orthodox Priests Blessed Paramilitaries Denied

    by Felix Corley, Keston News Service

    The controversial Albanian-language newspaper Dita published a group photo of 22 people in Yugoslav army uniform on 4 July. Among them were
    two bearded men, whom the paper identified as the priests of Partes and Gnjilane (Gjilan in Albanian) although the paper did not name them or give their addresses (which it did give for two other Serbs shown in the photo). Dita’s editor-in-chief BLERIM STAVILECI told Keston from Pristina on 3 August that the men the paper identified as priests were shown standing next to MILIVOJE JANKOVIC, a commander of the Black Tigers, a Serbian paramilitary group. ‘The pop [priest] of Partes, together with the commander Milivoje Jankovic — Mija and the pop of Gjilan, after atrocities and massacres had been committed, blessed the criminals and sang psalms to pardon their sins,’ the paper claimed.

  20. Owwen
    May 26, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    A bit more about the same Jankovic as just referred to at http://www.unmikonline.org/press/mon/lmm040700.html:

    The third photo is the most interesting because these men were identified by Albanian residents of the villages who were exposed to their knives. Let’s start from left to right: the first one standing is a paramilitary from Partes, who took part in massacres in Llashtica, Zhegër, Lladova, Pidiqi, Shurdhan, Malisheva, Ugljar, Lovca, as well as in the Drenica region. In the villages of Llashtica, Lladova, and Zhegër, he raped girls and a bride.

    Nebojsa Jankovic from Gjilan, also participated in massacres of Lladova, Llashtica, Zhegra and robbed and raped together with criminal Zare. He was employed in the Battery Factory in Gjilan. The third person is Milivoje Jankovic – Mija, chief commander of the renowned paramilitary group “Black Tigers”, who ordered murders, robberies, rapes and arson attacks, while he himself took the gold and money robbed from the villagers. The fourth in line is a former policeman from Pasjan, who carried out executions and burnings of victims in the village of Lladova, Llashtica, Zheger etc.

    The priest of Partesh, together with Commander Milivoje Jankovic and the priest of Gjilan, after every massacre blessed the criminals and sang psalms for forgiveness of their sins.

  21. Owen
    May 26, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    Dan, please change my name as sender of the last message from Owwen to Owen

    Thanks

  22. Owen
    May 26, 2007 at 8:38 pm

    Chris Justice, you are quoted as saying in response to a reference
    in court filings to the three accused as being part of the Zvornik Brigade, which was responsible for a massacre of Muslims at Srebrenica in July 1995, that “That would be like saying anyone who went to Vietnam was involved in My Lai.”.
    http://www.mckinneyandjustice.com/news.php?id=93&PHPSESSID=f70aaaede2e05be44b2ecdcd49a92f78

    Did you do any rough calculation of the ratio of members of the US forces in Vietnam to the men under William Calley’s command? How close a fit is that with the ratio of men who served in the Zvornik Brigade and the number who were deployed in the Srebrenica genocide?

  23. Srebrenica Massacre Editor
    May 28, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    Hi Owen,

    Milivoje is a common Serb name. We would need to compare it against other records. For example his age could yield some clues in comparison with the age of person you refered to. But, as a defence lawyer representing Mr Jankovic, I don’t believe Mr Justice has much interest in Mr Jankovic’s adventures in Serb military during Srebrenica genocide. As you know, Mr Justice has ignored couple of my emails in which I invited him to respond. It’s his choice, I am not going to hold it against him.

  24. Owen
    May 29, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    Dan, I haven’t seen any evidence that Michael Rose is a paid lobbyist like Lewis Mackenzie has been. He seems to have pretty bad judgment and his views are very obviously skewed but he hasn’t actually been paid to spout them as far as I know.

  25. Owen
    May 29, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    Dan, what happened to the Zvornik Brigade after Dayton? Were they disbanded?

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