Posts Tagged ‘Drago Nikolic’


August 22, 2006 7 comments


“Defenceless men and boys [were] executed by firing squads, buried in mass graves and then dug up and buried again in an attempt to conceal the truth from the world.” – Carla Del Ponte, Aug 21, 2006. – Opening statement in Srebrenica Genocide trial.

The trial of seven top Bosnian Serb military officials charged over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of over 8,000 Muslims was to resume in the UN court here, in the biggest ever joint trial for war crimes committed during the Balkan wars in the 1990s. (From top L) Vujadin Popovic, Ljubisa Beara, Drago Nikolic, Ljubomir Borovcanin and Vinko Pandurevic (from bottom L) Vinko Pandurevic, Radivoje Miletic and Milan Gvero.Intro: Carla Del Ponte, the UN’s chief prosecutor, said in her opening statement: “Words cannot convey the magnitude of the crimes committed and the suffering of the victims. Now the name Srebrenica is infamous. Unfortunately, two men who should be sitting in this courtroom are still at large. I am talking, of course, about Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic.” Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader, and his military commander General Mladic are accused of ultimate responsiblity for the slaughter. Ms Del Ponte blamed the Serbian Government for their absence, accusing it of a scandalous refusal to arrest General Mladic, who is seen by many Serbs as a national hero. Conspicuous by their absence are wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, and his generals, Ratko Mladic and Zdravko Tolimir – all of whom are still on the run.
Carla Del Ponte, the U.N.'s Chief Crimes ProsecutorThe U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague has resumed the trial of seven former Bosnian Serb military and police officers charged for their alleged role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre

The joint trial of the seven, five of whom are accused of genocide, is the biggest at the tribunal, which has combined their cases as it tries to complete its work by 2010. The trial, which started last month, got under way in earnest on Monday.

Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte used her opening statement today to criticize Serbia’s government for failing to arrest and extradite fugitive war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic. She said it is “inexcusable” that the former top commander of Serb forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina has not been detained.

Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander Ratko Mladic are the most wanted fugitives of Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, indicted by the Hague-based court for the siege of Sarajevo and masterminding the Srebrenica massacre in 1995. Mladic is thought to be hiding in Serbia.

Kamenica: one of Srebrenica massacre mass graves.Serb forces killed over 8,000 Bosniaks, mostly men and boys, after capturing the town, which the United Nations had declared a United Nation’s safe haven.

Five of the former officers, Ljubisa Beara, Ljubomir Borovcanin, Vinko Pandurevic, Drago Nikolic and Vujadin Popovic, face various charges, including genocide and extermination. The two other men on trial, Radivoje Miletic and Milan Gvero, are charged with crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of wars including murder, persecution, forcible transfer and deportation. They have already appeared individually before the court and pleaded not guilty.

Carla Del Ponte, the chief prosecutor at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in The Hague, told the court that Gen Mladic “should be on trial in this case”.

“Now the name Srebrenica is infamous … invariably associated with the most heinous crimes,” she added.

Kamenica: one of Srebrenica massacre mass graves.She repeated her criticism of Belgrade for failing to deliver him to the tribunal and promised that he and former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic would eventually be brought to trial.

“It is absolutely scandalous that they have not been caught. Serbia is fully capable to arrest them, but has refused,” she said.

Prosecutor Peter McCloskey said that Mladic and Karadzic plotted to force out the Bosniak population and that the armed forces were instructed accordingly.

“Mladic and Karadzic made what I refer to as the supreme act of arrogance and impunity and set out the plan to deal with Muslims in eastern Bosnia,” he said.

“Men and boys were put in horrendous conditions … they were beaten, starved and killed in two days,” he said referring to July 1995, after the fall of the enclave.

“They were marked for death … There was an organized mass execution going on,” he added.

Bosnian Muslim woman asks U.N. soldier for help to prevent Srebrenica massacre. U.N. stood helpless while over 8,000 men and boys (children) were massacred by Serb forces on July 11th 1995.The EU suspended talks on Serbia’s hopes of accession in May because of its failure to hand Gen Mladic to the UN war crimes tribunal.

Last month, the Serbian prime minister, Vojislav Kostunica, submitted a plan for Gen Mladic’s arrest which the EU welcomed.

Ms Del Ponte told the court that the seven men in the dock were “among the most responsible” for the massacre of over 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the UN-declared safe haven.

The trial at The Hague – which is expected to last more than a year – started last month with legal arguments and began its main phase today. It is the tribunal’s latest attempt to hold senior officials responsible.

It was “beyond reasonable doubt” that Bosnian Serb forces committed “forcible resettlement of the population, mass murders and genocide,” del Ponte stated.

The accused sat in silence and betrayed no emotion as Ms Del Ponte described the Srebrenica massacre as “the final phase of a comprehensive criminal plan to permanently erase the Muslim population of Srebrenica”.

She told the court: “It is difficult, if not impossible to comprehend the horror inflicted on the inhabitants.

“Defenceless men and boys [were] executed by firing squads, buried in mass graves and then dug up and buried again in an attempt to conceal the truth from the world.”

She said many victims had been bound and blindfolded “to make the murder easier for the executioners”.

Bodies continue to be found in mass graves. Last week, forensic experts said they had exhumed the remains of more than 1,000 victims from a single grave near the village of Kamenica (read more here ).

Many of the victims had had their arms bound with cloth or plastic and bullets were mixed with the bones.

The skeletons were badly damaged, indicating that the bodies had been dug up from elsewhere and dumped into a second grave as Bosnian Serb forces attempted to cover their tracks.

The Hague-based court has staged only a handful of trials dealing with the Srebrenica atrocities, including the case against the former Serb leader, Slobodan Milosevic, which was aborted after his death in March.

The two men accused of masterminding the killings – General Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic – are the tribunal’s most wanted war crimes suspects.

The tribunal has already convicted six men over Srebrenica. Gen Mladic’s deputy, General Radislav Krstic, is serving a 35-year prison term for aiding and abetting genocide and Colonel Vidoje Blagojevic is appealing against an 18-year sentence for complicity in genocide.

The indictments of the seven men were combined last year into a single indictment. They face allegations ranging from genocide to murder and persecution and are being defended by more than a dozen lawyers.

The suspects sat today in the packed courtroom, their faces betraying no emotion as they listened through earphones to a translation of Ms Del Ponte’s opening statement.

At the end of her speech to the court, Ms Del Ponte vowed that the seven suspects would not be the last to face justice for the Srebrenica genocide.

Gen Mladic, Mr Karadzic and others evading capture “will be arrested,” she said.

“They will be brought to The Hague and they will be tried for their crimes. This is our pledge to the international community and the women … who mourn their losses and all victims of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia.”

The prosecution sought to link former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic to the Srebrenica massacre but the case was closed without judgment after his death in March.

The massacre in the Bosniak enclave in eastern Bosnia is Europe’s worst atrocity since the Holocaust.

FACES OF EVIL (15 minutes of shame)

July 21, 2006 5 comments


Brief Update: Serb General, Radislav Krstic, who was originally awarded 46-year prison term for his involvement in Srebrenica genocide, is currently serving appealed sentence of 35-years in prison for aiding and abetting Srebrenica genocide. Serb Colonel Vidoje Blagojevic is currently serving his 18-year sentence for complicity in Srebrenica genocide. Seven other Srebrenica genocide suspects are on trial; an eight suspect remains on the run. Other Srebrenica genocide suspects on the run include Serb Gen. Ratko Mladic and former Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. Ratko Mladic hid in Belgrade until January this year. 11 persons accused of Srebrenica genocide are currently on trial in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Background: International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia. Slobodan Milosevic (center), Radovan Karadzic (left), and Ratko Mladic (right)THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Judges at the United Nations’ War Crimes Tribunal on Friday – July 14th – began the latest and largest trial of military officers blamed for the summary execution 11 years ago of over 8,100 Bosniaks in Srebrenica.

Charges of genocide make the case against the seven former Bosnian Serb officers one of the most important in the tribunal’s history, especially following the death of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic four months ago before his own genocide trial could be completed.

Tribunal chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte was to give an opening statement Friday before the court adjourns for its summer recess. The case is due to resume in late August.

The trial began in the week that the town in eastern Bosnia — which the U.N. had declared a safe haven — marked the anniversary of that July week in 1995 when Bosnian Serb forces massacred over 8,100 Bosniak men, elderly and children there.

Serb General, Radislav Krstic is currently serving 35-year prison sentence for Srebrenica genocide.It once again highlights the tribunal’s failure to capture and put on trial the two men viewed as chief architects of the slaughter — former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic, who have been on the run for more than a decade.

Earlier this week, 505 bodies exhumed from mass graves were reburied in Srebrenica after painstaking efforts to formally identify them. Thousands wait for DNA identification, while others are missing.

Del Ponte attended Tuesday’s commemoration in Srebrenica, partly to focus attention on efforts to have the two chief suspects arrested.

Vidoje Blagojevic is currently serving his 18-year sentence for complicity in Srebrenica genocide.“I’m here for the ceremony, for the victims, for the survivors and for the criminals Karadzic and Mladic who are still at large,” she told reporters.

The Hague-based court has staged only a handful of trials dealing with the Srebrenica atrocities, but made the landmark ruling that Bosnian Serb forces waged a campaign of genocide in the eastern Bosnian enclave.

Gen. Radislav Krstic, Mladic’s deputy, is serving a 35-year prison term for aiding and abetting genocide, and Col. Vidoje Blagojevic is appealing his 18-year sentence for complicity in genocide.

Radovan Karadzic, charged with genocide in relation to Srebrenica massacre. Currently on the run.The suspects in the case which begun July 14th are: Vujadin Popovic, Ljubisa Beara, Drago Nikolic, Ljubomir Borovcanin, Radivoje Miletic, Milan Gvero and Vinko Pandurevic. An eighth suspect, Zdravko Tolimir, remains on the run.

Each faces eight counts, ranging from genocide to murder and persecution. All have pleaded not guilty. They face maximum life sentences if convicted.

Although the defendants have entered their pleas, opening statements in the trial are not due until after the tribunal’s summer recess. The case was adjourned until opening statements on August 21.

Six men have so far been convicted over the Srebrenica massacre, and two of those on genocide charges.

Ratko Mladic, charged with genocide in relation to Srebrenica massacre. Currently on the run.“It is good that a few senior people are going to be held hopefully to account, because so few have been,” said Avril McDonald, an international law expert at the Hague-based TMC Asser Institute.

The allegations are hauntingly familiar from television images; Muslim men and boys separated from women and ferried away by bus to locations including schools, farms and river banks around the Srebrenica enclave.

There, they were gunned down and their bodies plowed into mass graves.

Vujadin Popovic, currently on Srebrenica massacre trial charged with Genocide.In one of several massacres listed in the indictment, Bosnian Serb special forces summarily executed more than 1,000 men who had been captured and imprisoned in an agricultural warehouse in the village of Kravica.

“The soldiers used automatic weapons, hand grenades, and other weaponry to kill the Bosnian Muslims inside the warehouse,” the indictment alleges. The victims’ bodies were dumped in two mass graves 11 years ago – on July 14 1995.

Serbia – Safe Heaven for War Criminals

War crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic hid in modest flats in the Serbian capital until January this year, according to an indictment against 10 people accused of helping him, the daily Politika reported on Wednesday.

Radivoje Miletic, currently on Srebrenica massacre trial charged with Genocide.
Quoting a source who saw the indictment, Politika said it lists the addresses of flats where the former Bosnian Serb Army commander hid from mid-2002 to January 2006.

Mladic is accused of genocide in the Bosnia war. Serbia must deliver him for trial to the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague in order to resume suspended talks on closer ties with the European Union.

“It is matter of five or more flats in (the neighbourhood of) New Belgrade, and the persons who helped Mladic paid the rent and supplied him with food,” the daily quoted its source as saying.

The flats Mladic used were “relatively modest”, with rents of up to 400 euros (274 pounds) per month, Politika said. New Belgrade is a densely populated area, built in the 1960s as a dormitory suburb of concrete high-rises.

Drago Nikolic, currently on Srebrenica massacre trial charged with Genocide.A flurry of reports earlier this year said Mladic had been tracked down and was negotiating surrender, but nothing came of them. The government said Mladic had virtually no helpers left and was now on the run, whereabouts unknown.

The European Union suspended pre-membership talks with Serbia in May because it had failed repeatedly to meet deadlines for the handover of Mladic, who is twice indicted along with his wartime political boss Radovan Karadzic, also at large.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica this week presented a plan to find and deliver Mladic, which EU officials said could get talks restarted if Belgrade’s efforts to implement it were convincing.

Ljubisa Beara, currently on Srebrenica massacre trial charged with Genocide.It includes a shake-up of the security services, passing of new legislation, and an operative part which is secret, officials said.

Mladic and Karadzic are wanted for the Srebrenica massacre of over 8,100 Bosniak men and children and the 43-month siege of Sarajevo. (see Sarajevo Photo Tour, Summer 2005). Sarajevo was under siege longer than any other city in modern history — longer even than Stalingrad.

The seven men and three women indicted for helping Mladic were arrested following a military intelligence report which listed some 50 people who allegedly helped hide the fugitive, who was last seen in army facilities in mid-2002.

Vinko Pandurevic, currently on Srebrenica massacre trial charged with Genocide.The indictment lists a former officer of the Bosnian Serb army who was arrested in January as the key man who organised Mladic’s hideouts in Belgrade.

Mladic has been on the run since 1995 when the United Nations war crimes court charged him with genocide for his part in the Srebrenica massacre.

Carla Del Ponte, the chief U.N. prosecutor, has repeatedly accused the Serbian authorities of knowing Mladic’s location, claiming they could have arrested him before he disappeared again.

11 on Trial in Bosnia (update)

Presiding Judge Hilmo Vucinic and the two foreign judges comprise the Judicial Council in Srebrenica massacre case in which 11 individuals stand accused of Genocide.

Milan Gvero, currently on Srebrenica massacre trial charged with Genocide.Tomislav Dukic, a prosecution witness in the case against 11 persons accused of killing around a thousand Bosniaks in Kravica in July 1995, testified that the principal defendant Milos Stupar was seen in the vicinity of the farmon 13 July 1995, the day of the massacre.

Witness Dukic is a former member of the Armored Platoon of the Second Squad of the Sekovici Special Police, which was deployed along the road near Kravica during the attack on Srebrenica in July 1995.

Several prosecution witnesses who testified earlier claimed that Stupar was a commander of the Second Squad of the Sekovici Special Police until mid-July 1995.

Zdravko Tolimir, charged with Genocide in relation to Srebrenica massacre. Currently on the run.The indictment, confirmed on 19 December 2005 before the Bosnia-Herzegovina Court, accuses Milos Stupar, Milenko Trifunovic, Petar Mitrovic, Brana Dzinic, Aleksandar Radovanovic, Slobodan Jakovljevic, Miladin Stevanovic, Velibor Maksimovic, Dragisa Zivanovic and Branislav Medan of “being members and deliberate perpetrators of a joint criminal enterprise aimed at forcefully evicting women and children from the Srebrenica enclave…and to capture, detain, execute by summary procedure, bury and re-bury thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys.”

They all pleaded not guilty.


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.