Posts Tagged ‘bosnian serb war criminals’


October 16, 2006 5 comments


Editor’s note: Why would they arrest him? He is their role-model and hero. It will take long time for sick Serbian society to heal and stop protecting and celebrating genocidal war criminals such as Ratko Mladic (pic 1) and Radovan Karadzic (pic 2)

Ratko Mladic - War Criminal on the RunU.N. war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said on Monday she saw no political will from Serbia to arrest Ratko Mladic or other major suspects, seen by the European Union as vital to closer ties with Belgrade.

“It’s almost a smokescreen they are describing us and showing us, it’s no real political will and investigative will to locate and arrest Mladic,” Del Ponte told reporters after briefing EU ministers and officials in Luxembourg.

The former Bosnian Serb military commander is wanted for trial by the Hague tribunal on genocide charges relating to the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

Radovan Karadzic - War Criminal on the RunThe EU suspended talks on a so-called Stabilisation and Association Agreement, the first step to eventual membership, in May to punish Belgrade for its failure to arrest Mladic.

“Most probably they want him to voluntarily surrender, to oblige him to voluntarily surrender, but I think Mladic will never voluntarily surrender,” Del Ponte said, speaking in English.

“They will never achieve to locate or arrest Mladic, and I think they have no political will to arrest Mladic.”

Del Ponte spoke as Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica met EU ministers and officials to discuss Serbia’s stalled ambitions to join the bloc. He made no comments on arrival.

The prosecutor said she hoped the EU would assist in securing the arrest of Mladic and other war crimes fugitives by standing by its decision to suspend talks with Serbia. She said she saw no sign of wavering by EU states on that decision.

Earlier, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana highlighted Serbia’s political and economic progress but said reopening of suspended talks on closer ties with the EU remained dependent on Belgrade’s cooperation with the U.N. tribunal.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said before taking part in the talks with Kostunica he understood Serbia’s cooperation with the Hague tribunal was “not satisfactory”.

“This is decisive for the question when and if we will be able to restart the negotiations on the association agreement,” he told reporters.


August 31, 2006 5 comments


NOTE: Srebrenica Genocide Blog will keep updating the list as names continue to be released by Sarajevo-based Oslobodjenje Daily.

The Bosnian daily newspaper Oslobodjenje has started publishing a list of over 800 Bosnian Serbs who allegedly participated in the Srebrenica massacre in July 1995, and are still believed to be in positions of power.

These names are just a small part of a much bigger list of some 28,000 people who, according to the Republika Srpska [Serb Entity in Bosnia], RS, authorities, were directly or indirectly involved in the massacre. Out of 28,000 names that the full version of the report apparently contains, 892 are reported to be individuals still employed by governmental and municipal institutions.

Back in October 2004, the RS Srebrenica Commission, under pressure from the international community, released a report in which they acknowledged that Serbs had been responsible for killing thousands of Bosniak men and boys from Srebrenica in July 1995.

First Part – 69 names, published on 08/24/06

Goran (Rajko) Abazović, Neško (Vladimir) Aćimović, Dušan (Drago) Aćimović, Milan (Vladimir) Aćimović, Zoran (Petko) Aćimović, Mile (Miladin) Aćimović, Siniša (Milan) Aleksić, Aleksa (Predrag) Aleksić, Draško (Božo) Aleksić, Milenko (Dragoljub) Aleksić, Brano (Dušan) Aleksić, Marko (Vladimir) Aleksić, Dragomir (Risto) Alempić, Rajko (Ljubinko) Alempić, Žarko (Vlajko) Andrić, Drago (Ljubo) Andrić, Mirjana (Stojan) Andrić, Nenad (Žarko) Andrić, Milan (Đorđo) Ašćerić, Radislav (Diko) Ašćerić, Dragomir (Božidar) Ašćerić, Vojslav (Ljubomir) Ašćerić, Mirko (Savo) Ašćerić, Dragan (Stevo) Ašćerić, Dragomir (Petar) Ašonja, Sveto (Rajko) Avramović, Miroslav (Jovo) Babić, Goran (Ilija) Bačić, Perica (Dragan) Bajević, Momir (Stojan) Bakmaz, Miroslav (Branko) Baljak, Novka (Petar) Banjac, Risto (Gojko) Barač, Ranko (Rajko) Baračanin, Dana (Branko) Bartula, Rade (Anđelko) Bašić, Miroslav (Mirko) Batovac, Ljubiša (Kosta) Bećarević, Siniša (Vladimir) Bećarević, Bogoljub (Bogdan) Begović, Goran (Cvijetin) Bencun, Milo (Božo) Bjelić, Marko (Risto) Blagojević, Ranko (Milivoje) Blagojević, Radenko (Neđo) Blagojević, Dušan (Slobodan) Blagojević, Gordana (Milan) Blažanović, Mila (Luka) Bodirogić, Milan (Anđelka) Bogdanović, Luka (Miladin) Bogdanović, Radovan (Mitar) Bojanić, Sredoje (Velizar) Bojić, Slobodan (Ljubo) Bojić, Milenko (Mijat) Borić, Radenko (Radosava) Borić, Darko (Vojislava) Borovčanin, Danko (Rade) Borovčanin, Radoslav (Milovan) Bošković, Todor (Boško) Bošković, Željko (Risto) Bošnjak, Obren (Dušan) Božić, Radoslav (Neđo) Božić, Kirilo (Mitar) Božić, čedo (Blagoje) Božić, Goran (Petar) Božičković, Borislav (Ratko) Božović, Stevo (Rado) Bunijevac, Boro (Marko) Bunjevac, Mile (Novo) Burilo.

Second Part: – 59 names, published on 08/25/06

Simo (Petar) Čabrić, Diko (Radivoje) Čabrić, Dragan (Nikola) Čabrić, Mario (Jozo) Cakalin, Radenko (Nenad) Čakarević, Vjekoslav (Veljko) Čakarević, Aleksa (Milentije) Čanić, Mladen (Bogoljub) Čavić, Predrag (Miodrag) Čelić, Rado (Krsto) Čelić, Ljubiša (Ranko) Čelić, Novica (Petar) Čelić, Petko (Milan) Cinco, Luka (Božo) Cinco, Milenko (Zdravko) Ćirković, Dragan (Branislav) Čobić, Marko (Dragiša) Čojić, Siniša (Šćepana) Čorić, Nemanja (Nedeljko) Crnjak, Rajko (Aleksa) Čuturić, Nada (Aleksa) Cvijan, Miljan (Borislav) Cijetić, Miroslav (Bogoljub) Cvijetić, Ristan (Čedo) Cvijetinović, Branislav (Matija) Čvorić, Radoš (Bojo) Čvoro, Todor (Milorad) Damnjanović, Stojan (Damjan) Danilović, Branislav (Boško) Danilović, Slaviša (Janko) Danojević, Vitomir (Rade) Deležan, Goran (Bogdan) Delmić, Milisav (Milan) Dendić, Milomir (Aćim) Đerić, Nenad (Spasoje) Deronjić, Boško (Miloš) Dešić, Nikola (Stjepan) Deurić, Goran (Zoran) Deurić, Momir (Lazo) Deurić, Milimir (Vojin) Divčić, Božidar (Drago) Đokić, Mirjana (Radoslav) Đokić, Slaviša (Dobrisav) Đokić, Savo (Sretko) Domazetović, Vitomir (Slobodan) Draganić, Miladin (Mitar) Dragić, Relja (Rajko) Dragić, Radomir (Branislav) Dragutinović, Zoran (Milan) Drakulić, Zoran (Ljuban) Drakulić, Ranko (Đorđo) Drašković, Marinko (Dražo) Dražić, Željko (Slobodan) Drljača, Dragiša (Mihajlo) Drljić, Pavle (Dragan) Dubov, Ljubiša (Cvijo) Đurić, Siniša (Mirko) Duković, Radinko (Mirko) Duković, Timo (Ratko) Dukić.

Third Part – 100 names, published on 09/05/2006

Tomislav (Milorad) Dukić, Rajko (Ratko) Dukić, Aleksandar (Vaso) Dukić, Zoran (Dejan) Durmić, Mile (Arsena) Đukić, Dragan (Milorad) Đukić, Brano (Milan) Đurđević, Miladin (Trivko) Đurić, Bogoljub (Gojko) Đurić, Dragan (Nikola) Đurić, Miloš (Nikola) Đurić, Boro (Veljko) Đurić, Srđan (Dušan) Đurić, Rajko (Slavko) Đurić, Milenko (Dušan) Đuričić, Aleksandar (Petar) Đurčić, Zoran (Mladen) Džabić, Nikola (Branko) Džebić, Brano (Ratomir) Džinić, Ratomir (Vukašin) Džinkić, Slaviša (Radivoje) Džuović, Veselin (Neđo) Erdelić, Ljuban (Milan) Erdelić, Radiša (Svetozar) Erić, Miroslav (Petko) Erić, Sreten (Tripun) Erić, Milenko (Todor) Erić, Cvjetko (Risto) Erić, Marinko (Mitar) Erić, Mirko (Miloš) Erkić, Dražan (Petar) Erkić, Nenad (Uroš) Filipović, Radiša (Simo) Filipović, Milomir (Danilo) Furtula, Aleksandar (Nikola) Gačanin, Veljko (Ilija) Gajić, Zoran (Milan) Gajić, Željko (Ilija) Gajić, Vlado (Čedo) Gajić, Ljubomir (Vukašin) Gajić, Milan (Mićo) Gajić, Goran (Branislav) Garić, Vojislav (Ilija) Gašanović, Mirko (Drago) Gašević, Miroslav (Miloš) Gatarić, Mladen (Stanko) Gavrić, Mikajlo (Bogdan) Gavrić, Ranko (Danilo) Gavrilović, Vida (Velimir) Glamočić, Miladin (Anđelko) Gligić, Milka (Petar) Gligorić, Siniša (Savo) Glogovac, Pero (Bogdan) Gluvak, Luka (Milutin) Gojgolović, Zoran (Đorđe) Gojković, Božica (Ilija) Golić, Dragan (Rajko) Golić, Ljepomir (Milan) Golić, Boško (Nikola) Golijanin, Goran (Ranko) Gostić, Miladin (Vid) Gostimirović, Ljubinko (Vid) Gostimirović, Slaviša (Milovan) Grahovac, Mirko (Bogoljub) Grujić, Slavoljub (Slavko) Gužvić, Dragan (Borislav) Hajduković, Dragan (Milojko) Ignjić, Dragan (Dragomir) Ikonić, Vidoje (Branko) Ilić, Mladen (Momir) Ilić, Ivo (Dušan) Ilić, Rajko (Pantelije) Ilić, Jovan (Savo) Ilić, Dragan (Desimir) Ilić, Stevo (Dušan) Ilić, Zoran (Živko) Ilić, Milenija (Miloš) Ilić, Cvijeta (Mihajlo) Ilić, Mladen (Lazo) Iličić, Dragan (Desimir) Iljić, Risto (Gojko) Ivanović, Milenko (Radenko) Ivanović, Željko (Gojko) Ivanović, Diko (Milenko) Ivanović, Đorđe (Risto) Ivanović, Radivoje (Dragoslav) Ivanović, Goran (Sreten) Ivanović, Nedeljko (Tomo) Jaćimović, Krsto (Boško) Jakšić, Zoran (Ljubisav) Janjić, Milorad (Radislav) Janjić, Nenad (Petar) Janjić, Lenka (Jovan) Janjušić, Jovo (Marijan) Janković, Boro (Dragomir) Jelić, Zoran (Zdravko) Jeličić, Slaviša (Radovan) Jelisić, Nebojša (Slobodan) Jeremić, Mile (Veselin) Jerkić.


July 27, 2006 6 comments

War Criminals on the Run: Radovan Karadzic & Ratko MladicOne of the most wanted Bosnian Serb war crimes suspects, former leader Radovan Karadzic, remains as much an enigma as his whereabouts 11 years after The Hague-based UN War Crimes Tribunal indicted him.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) raised the initial indictment against Karadzic and his army commander general Ratko Mladic on 24 July 1995. It charged them with war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity during what was then the ongoing 1992-1995 war in Bosnia- Herzegovina.

The charges included permanent attacks on the Bosnian capital Sarajevo from the surrounding hills held by Bosnian Serb troops, as well as organizing detention facilities for non-Serb population, mostly Muslims, in the areas controlled by Bosnian Serbs.

During the war (1992-95) Sarajevo was under siege longer than any other city in modern history — longer even than Stalingrad.

Radovan Karadzic - War Criminal on the RunAs soon as the world learned of the massacre in the former eastern Bosniak enclave of Srebrenica, where Bosnian Serb troops massacred 8,100 Bosniak men and children on 11 July 1995 – ranging in age from babies to the elderly – the ICTY raised another indictment against the two in November 1995, charging them with the Srebrenica massacre.

The initial indictments were further amended in 2000 for Karadzic and in 2002 for Mladic, when more charges were added.

While demands and media speculation over the past year have been rife about Mladic possibly being detained, stories about Karadzic have rarely surfaced.

“I do not know where Karadzic and Mladic are. I do not have any element right now to believe they are in this country,” the commander of some 6,000-strong European Union Force (EUFOR) in Bosnia, Italian Major General Gian Marco Chiarini, told media in Sarajevo.

EUFOR intelligence, he said, would know for sure if the two most wanted fugitives were in Bosnia.

Ratko Mladic - War Criminal on the RunThe fact that Karadzic and Mladic were not behind bars yet, according to president of the Association of Victimized People Fadila Memisevic, showed that “the international community is not ready to deal yet with their apprehension,” despite different signals from Washington and Brussels.

“Obviously there is no political will. Karadzic and Mladic were not arrested when they were here 11 years ago, when some 60,000 fully equipped UN peacekeepers were deployed in this country, with the support of probably the strongest concentration of intelligence in the world at that time,” Memisevic told Deutsche Presse-Agentur, dpa.

“Since they did not manage to catch them 11 years ago, I doubt that will happen now,” she said.

Memisevic also said she still believed in a “conspiracy theory” according to which Karadzic made a deal with the US officials to simply disappear from the political and public life of Bosnia- Herzegovina and its Serb entity, the Srpska Republic, in exchange for his freedom.

The U.S. Government is offering $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of Radovan Karadzic and/or Ratko Mladic.Munira Subasic of the Association of Srebrenica Survivors – Mothers of Srebrenica, also believes the world and Europe should be more active when it is about Karadzic.

“If the world and Europe only wished that, Karadzic would have been in The Hague a long time ago,” said Subasic.

But political analyst Tanja Topic from Banja Luka in the Srpska Republic dismisses a conspiracy theory.

“There is so much speculation, but I think the stance of most European officials is the same – Karadzic and Mladic must be apprehended,” said Topic.

The EU, she said, would never soften its demand for Karadzic’s and Mladic’s arrest. “It will continue to insist on that, with no pardon.”

The key of the problem, she said, is hidden in the deep tradition of the Serbs in the Srpska Republic and neighbouring Serbia.

An approach to the problem through the tradition, she believes, would also explain why Mladic’s name was often mentioned in the media, while everyone seemed to have forgotten Karadzic and his deeds.

“Mladic is much more respected than Karadzic. He is considered a soldier, and his eventual arrest would be bigger problem than the arrest of Radovan Karadzic,” said Topic.

Being a soldier was always considered in the Balkans, especially among Serbs, as an honourable and respectable thing that would show a transformation of a boy to a man, she said.

“Karadzic was not a soldier, and he was not given such importance as Mladic was. Besides that, Karadzic’s popularity decreased with gossip about his various criminal acts against his own people.”

Another factor, she said, was that Mladic had been located, which merited more space in newspapers. Karadzic’s whereabouts remained unknown – and so being a stale news for years.

While she strongly hopes the justice will be satisfied one day, Munira Subasic – who lost her family in the Srebrenica massacre – believes Karadzic will never be arrested.

Empty initiatives to get Karadzic before the ICTY, she said, would probably never work. He would remain at large, but would pay for his crimes in another way.

“Let them (Karadzic and Mladic) stay heroes of their own people, while nobody touches them,” she said.

“They have had to change their lives, to cope with the fact that they will have to hide from the rest of the world and abandon a normal, decent, human life in exchange for freedom until they die.”

In 2000, the U.S. Jury returned $4.5 billion verdict against Radovan Karadzic.

The U.S. Government is offering $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of Radovan Karadzic and/or Ratko Mladic.


July 5, 2006 Comments off


50 Bosnian women, relatives of victims of the Srebrenica massacre gather seen here holding a banner with the 8106 names of the victims in front of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, in February 2006. The United States deported to Bosnia two Bosnian Serbs wanted by a local court on charges of genocide committed in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, an official said.(AFP/ANP/File/Ilvy Njiokiktjien)SARAJEVO – The United States deported to Bosnia two Bosnian Serbs wanted by a local court on charges of genocide committed in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, officials said.

“The United States authorities deported today two persons and handed them over to Bosnia-Hercegovina’s prosecutors’ office,” the prosecutors’ office said in a statement.

The statement identified the two only as Zdravko B. and Goran B. adding that they were “suspected of participation in war crimes and genocide committed in July 1995 in Srebrenica.” Their identities were revealed by the Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They are: Goran Bencun and Zdravko Bozic [source].

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior police officer told AFP that the two were “Bosnian Serbs” who were “handed over to Bosnian police at the Sarajevo airport around noon (1000 GMT).”

The US embassy here could not comment immediately.

The July 1995 Srebrenica massacre of over 8,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces is the worst massacre in Europe since World War II and the first legally established case of genocide in Europe after the Holocaust.

The atrocity became a symbol of brutality of Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, which claimed over 100,000 lives.

It was qualified as an act of genocide by the UN war crimes court in The Hague.

Court of Bosnia-HerzegovinaEleven Bosnian Serbs are currently on trial before the Sarajevo-based Court of Bosnia-Hercegovina (link) for killing more than 1,000 Bosniak civilians in a single day during the massacre. They are facing genocide charges.

The Srebrenica massacre is at the center of genocide charges against Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and his army commander Ratko Mladic, both wanted by the UN tribunal.

The two, believed to be hiding in Serb-controlled part of Bosnia and in Serbia, remain on the run almost 11 years since the Srebrenica massacre.



July 3, 2006 1 comment

US Immigration and Customs EnforcementOn June 8th, four former members of the Bosnian Serb military appeared in federal court to face visa fraud charges, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) into allegations they failed to disclose their prior Bosnian Serb military service when they applied for immigration benefits, allowing them to relocate to the United States.

ICE agents arrested Milenko Stjepanovic, 55; Mirka Stjepanovic, 53; Ranko Nastic, 54; and Branko Ristic 46.

All four defendants, who currently live in the Salt Lake City area, are citizens of the former Yugoslavia, now Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Indictments unsealed allege that they made materially false statements on their immigration benefit applications, failing to disclose that they had served in the Bosnian Serb military during the Balkan conflicts between 1992 and 1995.

Because of the atrocities committed during the Balkan conflicts, Bosnians who seek refuge in the United States are required to declare all military service, including service in the Bosnian Serb Army, on immigration forms.

While under oath, the defendants allegedly did not reveal their prior military service with the Army of the Republika Srpska, or the Vojska Republike Srpske (VRS).

The VRS participated in human rights violations, including the Srebrenica massacre, which resulted in the capture and execution of over 8,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys (children) during 1995 – Europe’s worst civilian massacre since the Holocaust.

The Srebrenica massacre has been classified as genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Individuals who have persecuted others are not admissible to the United States by law.

“We will not allow the United States to become a sanctuary for those using fraud and deception to qualify for refugee status,” said Joseph Romel, assistant special agent in charge for the ICE office of investigations in Utah.

“These individuals willfully concealed their prior service in the military and this raises serious questions about their basic claims to eligibility.”

Acting U.S. Attorney for Utah Stephen J. Sorenson emphasized that the indictments returned by a Utah grand jury do not allege the defendants committed war crimes in Bosnia, but that they were members of the Vojska Republike Srpske, the Bosnian Serb military, and soldiers in the Zvornik Brigade, which played a role at Srebrenica.

Sorenson said there have been some instances where VRS members admitted military service and, after careful review, were able to obtain status in the United States. When the military service is not disclosed, however, the review is not conducted.

“The failure of these defendants to list their military service on refugee applications and subsequent applications here in Utah to obtain permanent residency precluded proper and meaningful screenings of their cases,” Sorenson said.

“We believe the immigration status each of these defendants presently enjoys was obtained by fraud.”

Visa fraud carries a potential maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The defendants are scheduled to stand trial in August.

Just in!

Custody ordered for two war crimes suspects

Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina A preliminary proceeding judge of Section I for War Crimes of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) yesterday ordered custody of one month for Goran Bencun and Zdravko Bozic.

The Prosecutor’s Office of BiH suspects these two persons of participating, as members of the Republika Srpska Army, in the murders of Bosniak civilians from Srebrenica, in the area of Pilica in July 1995.

The authorities of the United States of America deported Bencun and Božić to BiH on 30 June 2006 for breaches of immigration regulations.

1. Chilling custody in immigrand fraud case (new update)
2. Butcher of Srebrenica wants his own admission kept silent
3. Elusive Justice: Marko Boskic, a man who gunned down 1,200 Srebrenica Bosniaks
4. Bush administration has no interest in prosecuting Srebrenica massacre suspects
5. Phoenix: Mecca for Srebrenica massacre fugitives


June 15, 2006 1 comment

BELGRADE, Serbia – The general still has his admirers.

Serb General Ratko Mladic is directly responsible for Srebrenica Massacre in which over 8,000 Bosniak men and boys perished and in which over 25,000 Bosniak women were forcibly deported, many of them raped and degraded - all under United Nation's watchIn the musty headquarters of the Center for the Investigation of War Crimes Against Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina, his portrait is prominently displayed on the wall behind Ljubisa Ristic’s desk. There were about 2,000 Serb civilian casualties in the war which Serbia waged against Bosnia-Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995 [sourceas of Dec 15, 2005 data].

“My personal opinion is that he is a true soldier and a hero of the Serbian people,” Ristic said.

It is not clear how many other Serbs feel that way about Gen. Ratko Mladic, the wartime commander of the Bosnian Serb army and chief executor of its ethnic cleansing campaign.

“I’d say 75 percent of the Serbs see him as a war hero,” said Aleksandar Tijanic, who heads the state-run television network in Serbia. “But if you ask them if he should he go to The Hague to save the Serbs from more suffering, 75 percent would say yes.”

Mladic, who has been charged with genocide by the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, has been on the run since the collapse of Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic’s regime in October 2000.

Last month, the European Union broke off talks with Belgrade aimed at preparing Serbia for EU membership after President Vojislav Kostunica’s government missed another deadline for delivering Mladic. The United States followed suit this month, canceling a $7 million aid package to the Serbian government.

Carla Del Ponte, the tribunal’s chief prosecutor, has claimed repeatedly that Mladic is in Serbia and within the reach of Belgrade authorities. She says the government simply lacks the political will to arrest him.

That appeared to be the case in February when there were feverish media reports that the general had been cornered at a hiding place near the Bosnian border.

“But instead of arresting him, they started negotiating with him,” said Bratislav Grubacic, a political analyst who publishes a widely respected newsletter.

The negotiations came to nothing. “And now they really don’t know where he is,” Grubacic said. “For this government, I think they prefer not to know.”

Vladan Batic, the former Yugoslav justice minister who ordered the extradition of Milosevic to The Hague in June 2001, agrees with Del Ponte that the present government lacks the political will to deliver Mladic.

“Kostunica was hoping that Mladic would surrender himself,” said Batic. “He knows Mladic is our ticket to Europe, but he’s afraid that if he gives up Mladic, he’ll lose a lot of votes and won’t be seen as a so-called patriot.” Batic, who heads a small opposition party and who retains good police and security contacts, believes Mladic is holed up at the Topcider military base, a large complex amid a forest outside Belgrade that has an elaborate network of tunnels.

State TV boss Tijanic, who is close to Kostunica, disputes the Topcider theory and also the suggestion that Kostunica is afraid of arresting Mladic.

“Today, Kostunica’s government is willing to send him to The Hague, but they don’t know where he is hiding,” Tijanic said.

Citing the recent arrests of about a dozen people thought to be part of Mladic’s support system, Tijanic claimed that Mladic has cut all of his contacts with the military and security forces and is hiding on his own.

The international community’s focus on Mladic has diverted attention from Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb wartime political leader, also charged with genocide and still on the run.

There are three explanations.

The first is The Hague’s experience in prosecuting genocide cases, which argues that it is much easier to obtain a conviction against military officers, who answer to a clear chain of command, than it is against their political bosses. A second explanation is that Karadzic, who is believed to be in Bosnia, has done a better job hiding himself.

The last, based on a persistent rumor echoed by nearly every diplomat and expert in the Balkans, is that at the time of the Dayton peace agreement, Karadzic cut a deal that he would completely withdraw from politics if authorities would not try too hard to find him. Little has been heard from him since.

A year ago, public opinion in Serbia was shaken by a video recording that came to light during the Milosevic trial. It shows members of an Interior Ministry death squad known as the Scorpions executing six handcuffed Bosniak men and boys from Srebrenica, where more than 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were massacred in 1995, allegedly on orders from Mladic.

The video [source], shot by one of the participants, was shown on Serbian television and the government, for the first time, acknowledged that Serbs were guilty of atrocities. The killers, who were identifiable on the video, have been arrested and are being tried in Serbian courts.

Ristic, from the center for war crimes against Serbs, said the trials were appropriate, but insisted that the Scorpion tape has not shaken his faith in Mladic’s innocence.

“I was not there (Srebrenica), so I can’t tell you whether he ordered anything or not. But after our clear-cut victory, it was not in Serbia’s interest to do something like that,” he said.

Milan Protic, a historian who served as Yugoslavia’s first ambassador to the United States in the post-Milosevic era, said that only “stupid minds” in Serbia continued to view Mladic as a hero, but that it also is wrong for the EU and the United States to hold all of Serbia hostage to his arrest.

“He is an obsolete symbol, this dirty little Serbian commander from Bosnia,” he said, “but the West is using him to complicate all kinds of things for Serbia.


May 10, 2006 Comments off

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.

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April 5, 2006 Comments off

Six Bosnian Serbs plead not guilty over Srebrenica

Six former Bosnian Serb officers pleaded not guilty on Tuesday at the U.N. war crimes tribunal to charges of genocide over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of more than 8,000 Bosniak men and boys.
The men have already appeared individually before the court but last year their indictments on charges of genocide or complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war were combined in a single indictment. Presiding judge Carmel Agius said in court he plans to start the combined trial in August.

The six men — Vinko Pandurevic, Ljubisa Beara, Vujadin Popovic, Drago Nikolic, Milorad Trbic and Ljubomir Borovcanin — all surrendered to the tribunal. Zdravko Tolimir, however, is still on the run.

Tolimir was one of several aides to wartime Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic, who is also still at large and one of the tribunal’s most wanted men.

Mladic is also indicted over the Srebrenica massacre, the worst mass killing in Europe since world War Two, and the 43-month siege of Sarajevo in which more than 15,000 people died.

The Hague tribunal’s chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte insists Mladic is sheltered by hardline army officers in Serbia, which Belgrade denies.
Two other Mladic aides are also named in the indictment but they are not charged with genocide.
Radivoje Miletic and Milan Gvero, who are currently on provisional release, are charged with crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of wars including murder, persecution, forcible transfer and deportation.


April 4, 2006 Comments off

European Union gives Serbia another month to catch Mladic

By Mark John and Ingrid Melander

BRUSSELS – The European Union gave Serbia another month to catch Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic on Friday after U.N. war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte said Belgrade‘s cooperation with her tribunal had improved.
The EU had threatened to call off the next round of talks on closer ties with Serbia next Wednesday if Del Ponte judged that Belgrade was dragging its feet over arresting the fugitive indicted for genocide in the 1992-1995 Bosnia war.
But EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said del Ponte had cited progress in Belgrade‘s efforts “which gives a credible possibility of concrete results in the weeks to come” and that the EU would review the situation again at the end of April.
“On this basis, I have decided to maintain the negotiation round next week,” Rehn said after talks with Del Ponte.
He added in a written statement that Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica had pledged in a telephone call on Friday to locate, arrest and transfer Mladic “without delay.”
Mladic is indicted with Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic for genocide over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Bosniaks — the worst mass killing in Europe since the end of World War Two — and the 43-month siege of Sarajevo in which more than 15,000 people died.
Del Ponte says he is being sheltered by hardliners in Serbia, a charge Belgrade denies but which Brussels supports.
Jovan Simic, an adviser to President Boris Tadic who leads the opposition Democratic Party, welcomed the EU decision.
“We have to fulfill a lot of conditions besides the Hague condition and if the talks were suspended we would only be losing time for getting to the doorstep of the EU,” he told Reuters in Belgrade.
Del Ponte made no public comment after her meeting with Rehn. Asked if she was disappointed with the decision to carry on with the talks, an aide to the prosecutor said: “We believe that the EU has a tough line. We are grateful to the EU.”
Friday‘s decision was in contrast to the EU‘s action last March, when it suspended the start of membership talks with Croatia over the failure to arrest and hand over a fugitive Croatian general wanted on lesser war crimes charges.
The EU agreed to open the accession negotiations in October after Del Ponte certified that Zagreb was cooperating fully with the tribunal. The wanted former general, Ante Gotovina, was captured in the Spanish Canary Islands in December.
There is recurrent speculation in Serbia that Mladic is in touch indirectly with Belgrade about possible surrender, or has already turned down state overtures to give himself up.
Talk of a Mladic handover ebbed after the EU gave Belgrade the benefit of the doubt and started negotiations on a so-called stabilization and association agreement (SAA), the first rung on the ladder to eventual EU entry, on November 7 last year.
Analysts said the major powers were more anxious about winning Serbia‘s cooperation in UN-mediated talks over the future of Kosovo , the Albanian dominated province that wants to break away and become independent this year.
Commentators more recently have said the West will be careful not to overplay its hand with Belgrade following the death in a Hague detention cell this month of former strongman Slobodan Milosevic , an event which briefly rallied hardliners.
A spokeswoman for Rehn said the EU hoped the SAA talks could be completed as planned by the end of the year. But accession is not expected until 2015 at the earliest.


March 20, 2006 3 comments


U.S. officials are investigating 23 Bosnian Serb men and a woman living in Phoenix for links they might have had to the 1995 Srebrenica massacre – the worst war crime committed in Europe since the fall of Nazi Germany.
So far, agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the FBI have arrested the 24 who were in either the Bratunac or Zvornik brigades that orchestrated the slaughter in July 1995, capturing, holding, executing, burying and re-burying the more then 8,000 Muslim men and boys.
All 24 former soldiers have been charged with immigration violations. Some remain under investigation for possible torture charges, under a little used law that is the only way U.S. prosecutors can try suspected foreign war criminals or human rights abusers other than on immigration violations. Often they are just deported.
War crimes investigators told Newsday while many of the soldiers were not involved directly, war crimes investigators said, the Bratunac Brigade’s MP platoon was a central cog of the killing machine.
Throughout the United States, federal investigators and lawyers are working on about 1,000 cases of suspected human rights abusers from more than 85 countries, and they believe there are many more undiscovered suspects living in the United States.
Mladen Blagojevic and Zdravko Bozic were soldiers in the Bratunac Brigade’s military police platoon. Until recently, they were enjoying comfortable, American lives in the quiet streets of Phoenix.
As a result of an investigation into possible Srebrenica war criminals living in the United States that started in 2003, Bozic is in the final stages of deportation proceedings.
After spending nearly a year in prison for immigration fraud, he is likely to be deported soon – not to his native Bosnia but to Serbia, where he is less likely to be investigated for his possible involvement in Srebrenica.
Blagojevic, an electrician, was living until recently in a home he shared in north Phoenix with his wife and son. Since he spoke to a Newsday reporter there in November, he has moved.
Already charged with lying about his membership in the Bosnian Serb military, he has been under investigation for his possible involvement in torture during the Srebrenica massacre, according to federal officials.
Although never used by a prosecutor since it became law in 1994, the federal torture statute’s maximum penalty is death.
Bozic and Blagojevic, the two former comrades in war, are not alone in Phoenix. So far, agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the FBI have arrested 24 Bosnian Serbs in Phoenix who were in either the Bratunac or Zvornik brigades at the time of the massacre. Those brigades played central roles in capturing, holding, executing, burying and re-burying the more then 8,000 Bosniak men and boys killed in July 1995.
Investigators so far have not accumulated evidence that enables them to charge either with war crimes, but they continue to investigate Blagojevic.
The Arizona cluster of Srebrenica soldiers is, for sheer numbers, perhaps the starkest example yet of the wider phenomenon of foreign war crimes suspects finding sanctuary in the affluent anonymity of America’s cities and suburbs. Federal investigators and lawyers are working on about 1,000 cases of suspected human rights abusers from more than 85 countries – and they believe there are many more undiscovered suspects living in the United States.
While prosecutors are often successful in briefly jailing and then deporting suspects, many are frustrated at what they consider gaps in the law, leaving them unable to pursue the suspects for their original crimes rather than for immigration violations.
Some human rights activists suspect the one law prosecutors do have in their arsenal – the 1994 torture statute – will remain unused under any Bush administration attorney general, given the administration’s own entanglements in torture controversies.
Some federal officials and human rights activists fear the situation has given the United States a global reputation as a soft-touch sanctuary for people just like the 24 Bosnian Serb suspects in Arizona. All 24 former soldiers, including one woman, have been charged with immigration violations and some remain under investigation for possible torture charges, the only way U.S. prosecutors can try foreign war criminals or human rights abusers with a crime in the United States other than immigration violations.
A Bosnian Serb Army payroll document dated February 1995 and obtained by Newsday lists both men’s names on the platoon roster of 33 men. Investigators confirmed the men told federal authorities they were in the platoon and in the area at the time of the massacre. A source close to the case said federal investigators possess Bosnian Serb Army logs that place Bozic at key locations and times during the atrocities.
Bozic pleaded guilty in November 2004 to one charge of immigration fraud and one of perjury, essentially admitting he had lied to U.S. immigration authorities about his military service. In the plea, he acknowledges: “During July 1995, I was a member of the Military Police for the Bratunac Brigade of the VRS and worked in and around Bratunac and Potocari.”
It was in Potocari that the men and boys were separated from the women and children. The men were held in Bratunac before their mass murder. Many soldiers guarding the prisoners there at that time committed murder and acts of torture before the majority of the prisoners were bused to their execution sites, according to the few survivors of the killings and the testimony of former Bosnian Serb commanders during their own war crimes trials.
Mevludin Oric was one of a handful of men held in the buses overnight in Bratunac to survive the mass executions that followed. He now lives in a rundown village outside Sarajevo, his nights torn apart by memories of the terror he faced in Bratunac as the MPs guarded his bus.
The Serb soldiers were “laughing, singing Chetnik songs,” he said in an interview at a village cafe in December.
“They were firing above the buses. We were on the bus. We couldn’t hear directly what they were saying but they were clearly pleased … there was a Serb I recognized from school in Srebrenica. He got on the bus and started beating me. He demanded that I get off the bus so that he could kill me.”
Another of the very few survivors of the massacre, Hurem Suljic, who is believed to be living as a protected witness in the United States, told journalists after the massacre that the Serb soldiers in Bratunac tortured and killed dozens of prisoners.
Was it possible, Oric was asked, for a Serb soldier to be in Bratunac and not understand what was happening to the Muslim men and boys? No, he said. “All of them were killing. They were praying to God to give them a chance to kill someone. There were so many drunk soldiers in front of the bus demanding the MPs let them kill us.”
Neither Bozic nor Blagojevic has acknowledged committing war crimes. Bozic’s plea agreement includes admissions of guilt in relation to immigration charges only. Blagojevic told Newsday in an interview he had done nothing wrong.
But at the United Nations war crimes court in The Hague, commanders of the Bratunac Brigade and other units involved in the Srebrenica massacre have described in some detail what Blagojevic and Bozic’s platoon was doing at the time.
Momir Nikolic, a former neighbor of Blagojevic as well as chief of intelligence and security of the Bratunac Brigade, pleaded guilty in May 2003 at the UN tribunal to a crime against humanity for his role in the massacre. As part of his plea agreement, he gave a statement of facts.
On July 12, he said, the platoon helped with “the separation and detention of able-bodied Muslim men” from the women and children at the Dutch UN peacekeepers’ base in Potocari.
Thousands of terrified Bosniaks gathered there from Srebrenica to seek protection from the outnumbered Dutch soldiers as the Bosnian Serb Army seized control of the UN safe area around Srebrenica.
That day the Serb forces there, he said, “abused and assaulted many Muslim men and women … I also heard that some Muslim men were taken to isolated areas around Potocari and killed.”
Nikolic also described the MP platoon’s participation in guarding prisoners, noting: “It was reported to me that approximately 80 to 100 Muslims were murdered in the hangar near the Vuk Karadzic school in Bratunac” on July 13.
“Their bodies were deposited over a hillside and covered with dirt.” He did not specify which unit did the killing.
At one point Nikolic told of how he and a soldier in the MP platoon, Mile Petrovic – whose name is also on the payroll document obtained by Newsday – took six Bosniak men prisoner. Soon after, he said, Petrovic told him that he had killed the men in “revenge for my brother,” according to the statement.
In an interview in a country in the former Yugoslavia, a former Serbian paramilitary who was based in Bratunac for much of the Bosnian war said he was familiar with the activities of the platoon.
“If you want to know whether they [the MP unit] were shooting Srebrenicans in ’95, yes,” said the former paramilitary, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said he did not know either Blagojevic or Bozic by name.
Last week another former Bosnian Serb soldier recalled in an interview with Newsday what he had witnessed at the Vuk Karadzic school. He spoke with numerous expletives, which have been deleted and, as he spoke, in a bar on the border between Bosnia and Montenegro, his hands shook so much he had to put his cigarette in an ashtray before it was finished.
As is common with Serbs, he referred to Muslims as “Turks” [which is considered highly derogatory term for Bosniaks (Bosnia’s Muslims)]
“I let inside two military policemen . They were holding a Turk while a civilian came with pliers and was breaking up his toes with pliers. I said what was that and he told me it wasn’t my … business … The sergeant told me that they came to avenge his brother that mujahedeen had killed … I couldn’t bear the screams. I would never do such a thing.
“There were others going into the hall and shouting Turk names … Some Turks were beaten to death and others were left bleeding. Corpses had to be dragged away. The school was littered with blood. And the children attend the school now. I would vomit to be taken there again.”
The timing of the Srebrenica massacre is highly relevant to possible torture charges because it allows prosecutors to indict those involved. Passed in November 1994, the torture statute does not cover crimes committed before that date.
So while Bozic will soon be deported, Blagojevic is still under investigation.”We’re still working evidence,” one official said. “The option exists because of the time frame of the events and everything else. If the evidence allows us to do that, that will be a consideration. And I suspect that’s something the U.S. attorney out there will buy.”
In an interview in October, Paul Charlton, the U.S. attorney for the district of Arizona, said he would want to prosecute a torture case if he had sufficient evidence.
“If torture had been there in terms of proof, we would have gone forward with a torture case,” he said. “What we have here in Arizona are individuals who may or may not have been involved in torture.”
Charlton said he has devoted considerable time and resources to investigating the Bosnian Serb suspects and sent an assistant U.S. attorney, together with an FBI agent, an ICE agent and an expert witness, to visit prosecutors in The Hague to collect evidence.
The same team had tried earlier to find witnesses among the large Bosniak immigrant population of St. Louis, showing Srebrenica survivors photographs of the former soldiers arrested in Phoenix.
More FBI and ICE investigators sought witnesses and evidence in many U.S. cities and, according to other sources, in Bosnia.
Investigators and translators from the Srebrenica team of the prosecutor’s office in The Hague came to Arizona to assist in the investigation and help interview the first four suspects arrested, including Bozic. In spite of the efforts, Charlton and his team did not come up with evidence that Bozic and Blagojevic had been involved in war crimes.
“In this particular case, ICE used every legal remedy available against Mr. Bozic, ultimately resulting in a one-year prison sentence and his removal order from the United States,” said a spokesman for the Human Rights Violators and Public Safety Unit, the office in Immigration and Customs Enforcement that seeks out foreign war criminals and human rights abusers living in the United States.
“It is our hope that any allegations of war crimes lodged against Mr. Bozic, if substantiated, will be fully prosecuted by the proper tribunal.” But if Bozic does make it to Serbia, he almost certainly will be beyond the reach of the Bosnian State Court, which handles war crimes trials in Bosnia. Officials there say it is almost unthinkable that Serbia would extradite anyone to Bosnia – and if Bozic becomes a Serbian citizen, it would be illegal.
Federal investigators told Newsday they believe there are more former soldiers from the Bosnian Serb Army who may have been involved in the Srebrenica massacre and are now living in the United States. They declined to give numbers.
“We have people here who may have lied to enter the United States,” Charlton said. “We have people here we’re prosecuting who may be able to provide us with information that would lead us to other individuals who are involved in this. So the investigation is ongoing because of both of those concerns.”