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LIST OF SUSPECTS: GETTING AWAY WITH GENOCIDE

October 3, 2007 1 comment

THE U.S. COURTS CHARGE SREBRENICA GENOCIDE SUSPECTS FOR IMMIGRATION FRAUD, BUT FAIL TO PROSECUTE THEM FOR WAR CRIMES

An Akron man was convicted Tuesday of lying about his service in a notorious Bosnian Serb army unit that massacred thousands of people during the war in the former Yugoslavia more than a decade ago.

Ratko Maslenjak and his family settled in Akron in 2000, but the man had a secret, federal prosecutors said: He served in the Bosnian Serb army and did not tell immigration officers when he applied for refugee status and later for a green card. Maslenjak thus kept officials from scrutinizing his past and possibly barring him from the United States, Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip Tripi said.

Ratko Maslenjak, 48, belonged to a brigade connected to the Srebrenica massacre of 1995, prosecutors said. An estimated 8,000 Bosniaks were executed and thousands more driven from the United Nations-designated safe haven.

Duty rosters presented by prosecutors during a five-day trial revealed that Maslenjak served that year as a company commander. International investigators uncovered the rosters in Bosnia and Herzegovina during a war crimes probe.

Jurors heard little about the Srebrenica genocide or about Maslenjak’s specific duties. U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver Jr. repeatedly told jurors that Maslenjak was on trial for immigration violations, not war crimes.

Defense lawyers argued that the Bosnian Serb army, also known as the VRS, drafted Maslenjak during the war between Bosnian Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats. The fighting ravaged the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

Maslenjak’s lawyers claimed that he failed to disclose his VRS duty because of alleged flaws in translation. Maslenjak does not speak or read English.

Maslenjak remained stoic Tuesday as he listened to the verdict through an interpreter. His wife Divna and pastor, the Rev. Dragomir Tuba, covered their faces in distress when a clerk announced the decision.

Maslenjak will be sentenced next year on the criminal charges and remains free on bond. He is also facing deportation.

Here is an incomplete list of Srebrenica genocide suspects who were (so far) arrested in the United States and charged only with immigration fraud, even though there was clear evidence of their involvement in the Srebrenica genocide – as confirmed by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement:

Sekula Bilic, indicted on one count of immigration fraud and one count of making false statements (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Zdravko Kordic, indicted on one count of immigration fraud (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Branko Popic, indicted on one count of immigration fraud and one count of making false statements (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Ostoja Saric, indicted on one count of immigration fraud and one count of making false statements (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Strahinja Krsmanovic, indicted on one count of immigration fraud (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Boro Stojanovic, indicted on one count of immigration fraud (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Jadranko Gostic, indicted on one count of unlawful procurement of citizenship and one count of making false statements (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Zoran Radic, indicted on one count of immigration fraud and making false statements. Radic remains at large (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Dusan Bosnjak, (remains at large) indicted on one count of immigration fraud and making false statements (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Bogdan Panic, (remains at large) indicted on one count of naturalization fraud and making false statements (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Nedjo Ikonic, charged with one count of immigration fraud (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Milivoje Jankovic, indicted on two counts of immigration fraud and two counts of making false statements (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Veselin Vidacak, indicted on two counts of immigration fraud and two counts of making false statements (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Milisav Vukovic, charged with one count of false statements (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Nedjo Lojpur, indicted on two counts of immigration fraud (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Ratko Maslenjak, charged with one count of immigration fraud (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Dalibor Butina, charged with one count of immigration fraud (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Radovan Jankovic, charged with one count of immigration fraud (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Vlado Kecojevic, charged with one count of immigration fraud (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Branislav Cancar, charged with one count of immigration fraud (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Mladen Blagojevic, charged with fraud or misuse of visas, permits, and other documents (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Nenad Dragic, charged with fraud or misuse of visas, permits, and other documents; and perjury (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Milenko Gujic, charged with fraud or misuse of visas, permits, and other documents (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Mitra Gujic, charged with fraud or misuse of visas, permits, and other documents (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Rajko Hercegovac, charged with fraud or misuse of visas, permits, and other documents (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Risto Hercegovac, charged with fraud or misuse of visas, permits, and other documents (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Momcilo Krstic, charged with fraud or misuse of visas, permits, and other documents; and perjury (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Rajko Ninkovic, charged with fraud or misuse of visas, permits, and other documents (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Radenko Spiric, charged with fraud or misuse of visas, permits, and other documents; and perjury (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Vitomir Spiric, charged with fraud or misuse of visas, permits, and other documents; and perjury (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Nikola Stankovic, charged with fraud or misuse of visas, permits, and other documents (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Savo Tojcic, charged with fraud or misuse of visas, permits, and other documents; and perjury (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Cvijan Vidakovic, charged with fraud or misuse of visas, permits, and other documents; and perjury (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Marko Boskic, charged with two counds of immigration document fraud (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Ugljesa Pantic, one count of possessing a green card obtained by making a false statement (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Zdravko Bozic, one count of immigration fraud (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Radenko Ubiparipovic, one count of immigration fraud (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Dragon Ubiparipovic, one count of immigration fraud (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Goran Bencun, one count of immigration fraud (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Milenko Stjepanovic, one count of immigration visa fraud charge (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Mirka Stjepanovic, one count of immigration visa fraud charge (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Ranko Nastic, one count of immigration visa fraud charge (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).

Branko Ristic, one count of immigration visa fraud charge (in connection with concealing prior service in the Bosnian Serb military who participated in Srebrenica genocide, Srebrenica massacre).


Sources and related readings:
1. Sixteen charged with concealing Bosnian Serb military when entering U.S. – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (December 15, 2006)
2. Former member of brutal Bosnian Serb military unit sentenced to jail for concealing his military past – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (November 20, 2006)
3. ICE probe leads to indictement of four former members of Bosnian Serb military for immigration fraud – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (June 8 2006)
4. Thirteen past members of Serbian military indicted for immigration fraud – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (September 14, 2005)
5. Four Serb suspects arrested in Chicago
6. Four Serbs on trial for Srebrenica genocide; Two of them deported from the U.S.
7. Butchers of Srebrenica hiding in the U.S.
8. The United States deports two Serbs wanted for Srebrenica massacre
9. Bosnian Serb immigrants failed to disclose their past service in Genocidal military
10. Marko Boskic – Srebrenica murderer
11. Butcher of Srebrenica wants his own admission kept silent
12. Srebrenica massacre gunmen will not face torture charges
13. Elusive Justice: a man who gunned down 1,200 Srebrenica Bosniaks
14. Phoenix, Arizona: Mecca for Serb suspects of Srebrenica genocide

FOUR ON TRIAL OF WHICH TWO DEPORTED FROM THE US

April 24, 2007 3 comments
FOUR SERBS ON TRIAL FOR SREBRENICA MASSACRE, TWO OF THEM DEPORTED FROM THE UNITED STATES

Four Bosnian Serbs went on trial on Friday at Bosnia’s war crimes court for crimes committed during the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of up to 8,000 Bosniaks.

A forensic expert works in a mass grave in the village of Budak just outside Srebrenica in 2005Two of the suspects, former military policemen Zdravko Bozic and Mladen Blagojevic, were deported to Bosnia last June and November for lying to U.S. immigration authorities about their service in the Bosnian Serb military during the 1992-95 war.

Together with Zeljko Zaric and Zoran Zivanovic, who were arrested in Bosnia last December, they were charged with the detention, murder and forcible transfer of Bosniaks after Serb forces overran the U.N. “safe area” of Srebrenica.

“According to the prosecution, the four took part in the illegal military operation in the safe area of Srebrenica in July 1995,” Bosnian radio reported Prosecutor Kwao Hong Ip as telling the court.

“They are also responsible for not preventing the crime or protecting the civilians,” he said.

According to the indictment the accused confined 2,000 to 3,000 unarmed Muslim civilians in a primary school in Bratunac near Srebrenica and participated in the abuse, beatings and cruel treatment of the detainees.

It also said that Bozic and Blagojevic together with six other members of the Serb army executed at least 5 Bosniaks while Zaric and Zivanovic separated three Bosniaks from other detainees and killed them by firing from automatic firearms.

In December, the U.S. authorities arrested 26 Bosnian Serbs and accused a number of them of taking part in Europe’s worst single atrocity since World War Two.

Over 8,000 Bosniaks from Srebrenica and surrounding villages were killed in July 1995. The bodies of about half have been found in more than 80 mass graves in the Srebrenica area and the rest are awaiting DNA identification which could take years to complete.

Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and military chief Ratko Mladic have been indicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague over Srebrenica and the 43-month siege of Sarajevo.

Both men are still at large. Karadzic is believed to be hiding in eastern Bosnia or Montenegro and Mladic in Serbia.

Another 11 Bosnian Serbs are on trial for Srebrenica genocide at the Bosnian war crimes court while about two dozen are either being tried or have been convicted by the U.N. war crimes court and courts in Serbia and Croatia.

In-depth research about Srebrenica genocide suspects hiding in the US:

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

U.S. DEPORTS TWO SREBRENICA MASSACRE SUSPECTS TO BOSNIA

July 5, 2006 Comments off

UNITED STATES DEPORTS TWO SERBS WANTED FOR SREBRENICA GENOCIDE

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.

Related:

FOUR SREBRENICA MASSACRE SUSPECTS APPEAR IN COURT

July 3, 2006 1 comment
BOSNIAN SERB IMMIGRANTS FAILED TO DISCLOSE THEIR PAST SERVICE IN GENOCIDAL MILITARY

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.

Related:
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

SREBRENICA MASSACRE BUTCHERS STILL ADMIRED IN SERBIA

June 15, 2006 1 comment
PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR SLAUGHTER OF OVER 8,000 BOSNIAKS IN SREBRENICA STILL REGARDED AS ‘HEROES’ IN SERBIA

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.

SREBRENICA MASSACRE ORCHESTRATORS MUST BE CAUGHT

June 9, 2006 Comments off

STATEMENT BY TRIBUNAL’S PROSECUTOR CARLA DEL PONTE TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL 7 JUNE 2006

Points of Interest (blog editor’s picks):

1) The Prosecution has proven an international armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina no less than five times. This proves that there was no civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina as previously thought, but a full blown international attack on Bosnia-Herzegovina by neighbouring Serbia.
2) An amendment to the Rules was adopted that would allow a Trial Chamber to direct the Prosecutor to cut counts in an indictment, which Mrs. Del Ponte justly refuses to do.
3) Serbia has the main responsibility to locate, arrest and transfer all six fugitives. The co-operation provided by Serbia to the ICTY has been and remains very difficult and frustrating.
4) Nobody is searching actively for primary orchestrators of Srebrenica massacre: Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. [Also see: $5,000,000 Reward posted by the US Justice Department for the capture of Radovan Karadzic and/or Ratko Mladic]

Mrs. President,
Excellencies,

Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to provide you with my assessment of the progress made in the completion strategy and to highlight the problems we continue to face. A written assessment was delivered already, and I intend to focus on the main issues.

A number of steps were taken internally to increase the efficiency of the Tribunal, while maintaining the highest standards expected from an international court created by the United Nations.

In this regard, I have proposed to join cases with a similar crime base. I have filed four motions for that purpose, and three were accepted by the Chambers. One trial with six accused has already begun. Later this year, a consolidated trial with nine accused charged with crimes committed in Srebrenica will start, as well as another one with six leading political and military figures indicted for crimes committed by Serbian forces in Kosovo.

My second initiative has been to propose the transfer of cases involving mid-and lower-level perpetrators. This undertaking was met with strong opposition from some victims’ groups. However, my assessment of the local judiciaries is that they are now capable of trying such cases. Beginning in September 2004, I have therefore filed 13 motions requesting the transfer of cases to the domestic jurisdictions of the former Yugoslavia. There is no other case at the ICTY that could be transferred to the region, as, according to the criteria set by the Council, they all concern the most senior leaders responsible for the most serious crimes.

Thirdly, I have been working with the Judges in taking all possible measures to ensure that the Tribunal’s own process is as efficient as possible. I have put forward packages of reforms that, if implemented, would significantly accelerate the pre-trial and trial proceedings. Given the seriousness of the cases at the ICTY, it is essential to improve urgently pre-trial management, so that issues are narrowed before the trial starts so that the trial can focus on truly contested matters. Decisions on key issues must be made long before the beginning of the trial. For instance, it is important that a decision be rendered very soon on a motion regarding the disclosure of materials in electronic or hard copy that I filed in the Šešelj case over two years ago.

I have also proposed that a much more dynamic approach be taken on adjudicated facts. Such facts have been proven in previous trials, and the Chambers have the power to decide that they must not be proven again in a given trial. The instrument of the adjudicated facts is therefore a key tool to reduce the scope of the trials. For instance, the Prosecution has proven an international armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina no less than five times, wasting months and months on proving the same facts, sometimes with the same witnesses, in case after case. We have to prove it again, for the sixth time, in the on-going Prlić et al. trial.

I have also taken the lead in promoting the efficient use of time at trial. For example, in the Prlić et al. case, the Prosecution has put forward a 10 point plan to streamline the trial, within the time limit set by the President of the Trial Chamber, for the Prosecution and Defence respectively to present their cases and cross-examination. This plan was accepted by the Trial Chamber and its implementation does have serious positive effects.

During the Judges’ Plenary on 30 May, an amendment to the Rules was unfortunately adopted that would allow a Trial Chamber to direct the Prosecutor to cut counts in an indictment. In view of the checks and balances contained in the Statute, and particularly the duties and responsibilities of the Prosecutor under the Statute, such directions by the Chambers can only be interpreted as purely advisory in nature. Only the Security Council has the power to modify the ICTY Statute, which guarantees the independence of the Prosecutor and assigns to her the responsibility of determining which charges to bring in a prosecution.

I am continuously reviewing our cases and I will not hesitate to cut counts when there are clear judicial reasons for that. It is however impossible to arbitrarily cut and slice cases, which are complex by their very nature. My mandate, given by the Security Council, is to prosecute the most senior officials, that is to say persons who were most often far removed from the crime scenes and whose responsibility can only be established by examining a number of different crimes, often in different geographical areas. Removing one or several counts artificially may seriously undermine the prosecution case. Eventually it leads to impunity for certain crimes and does not do justice to the victims, who are already puzzled by the Completion Strategy.

Allow me to use an example: Srebrenica. Which counts should I eliminate? Those referring to the killings of over 7,000 men and boys? (see: preliminary list of 8,106 Srebrenica massacre victims) Or those relating to the forcible transfer of 25,000 women, children and elderly people? This would mean that I am only presenting half the picture of the serious crimes that took place in Srebrenica. How can I justify presenting only half the picture of the brutal crimes that took place in the former Yugoslavia? These are choices that, as a Prosecutor representing also the victims, I am not ready to make. This would introduce unacceptable disparity in the treatment of the persons accused by the Tribunal. There must be no justice à la carte.

I will again urge the other organs of the Tribunal to focus on the proposals made by the Judges’s Working Group and by my Office. These measures, if fully implemented, would have a serious impact on the length of the proceedings and put the Tribunal closer to realizing the Completion Strategy.

Speeding up the proceedings is a top priority of my Office. Obtaining the arrest and transfer of the remaining indictees at large is another one. It has been said a thousand times: it is inconceivable that the ICTY closes its doors with Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladić at large. I want to stress again before the Council that impunity for these two most serious architects of the crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, both accused of genocide, would represent a terrible blow not only to the success or failure of the Tribunal, but to the future of international justice as a whole.

Serbia has the main responsibility to locate, arrest and transfer all six fugitives. According to my information, Mladić, Tolimir, Hadžić and Župljanin are in Serbia. Furthermore, there are established leads connecting Serbia to Karadžić, whose location is unknown, and to Ðjorđevic, who is still believed to be in Russia. The fact that Mladić has been an active officer of the Army of Yugoslavia till May 2002, one year and a half after the fall of Milosević and seven years after he was indicted, adds to the responsibility of Belgrade for its failure to deliver the former General.

Over the past twelve months, the Serbian authorities have repeatedly promised that Mladić would be delivered soon. I was told regularly by Serbian officials that the circle was closing down around him. At the end of April, in view of Serbia’s failure to achieve the promised results, I re-assessed the whole operation and found out that it had been suffering grave defects. During 2005, there was no real attempt to locate and arrest Mladić. Time was wasted in trying to encourage him to surrender voluntarily. Since the beginning of this year, it seems that more was undertaken. In particular, his support network was targeted, and several of his supporters arrested. These actions were sometimes spectacular, they fed many news articles, but they lacked the necessary discretion that would have allowed to acquire information leading to Mladić.

The most blatant dysfunction is the total lack of co-operation between the military and the civilian authorities. The inconsistencies I could identify in the various reports provided to me came as another surprise and forced me to suspect that some of the information contained in these reports had been doctored for political reasons. In our co-operation with Belgrade, we have not managed to achieve so far the level of trust and transparency that we had achieved with other countries. I will keep on engaging the Serbian Government in the months to come, trying to establish more confidence and a better communication.

As to the other aspects of the co-operation with Belgrade, a mission was sent in the second half of May to test the new arrangement agreed upon with the Government of Serbia and Montenegro regarding access to archives. This has been a long standing problem. The first accounts I received from my staff are encouraging.

To sum up, the co-operation provided by Serbia to the ICTY has been and remains very difficult and frustrating. There is serious political and administrative resistance within the system, and a strong political will is needed to overcome those obstacles. On the basis of the facts in my possession, I cannot be convinced that Serbia is ready to arrest Mladić. For a number of reasons, the authorities may still prefer to force him to surrender voluntarily.

Republika Srpska within Bosnia and Herzegovina also has to increase substantially its efforts to locate and arrest fugitives. Whereas it is unclear whether Radovan Karadžić still resides at times or travels through Republika Srpska, it is certain that part of his network and of his family remains there. In the reporting period, the cooperation provided by Republika Srpska to my office has rather decreased, which is due to political reasons and the reshuffling of personnel in the police. Now that a new team is in place, the search for Karadžić must intensify rapidly.

My office has maintained a positive working relationship with Montenegro for over a year, and I expect this co-operation to continue at full speed. Part of Karadžić’s family is living in Montenegro, and he can count on numerous supporters there.

I am particularly disappointed about the lack of movement on another important fugitive, Vlastimir Ðjorđevic. The investigation carried out by the Russian authorities, as they told us, has failed to produce results. This will have negative implications on the completion strategy, because, if Ðjorđevic is not surrendered within the next weeks, it will be impossible to try him with his six co-accused. Resources will therefore have to be wasted in a separate trial. Ðjorđevic is accused of very serious crimes committed by Serbian forces in Kosovo. The long and unexplained delays in the transfer of Zelenović, who was detained in Russia since August 2005, do not allow for optimism in the future of the ICTY’s co-operation with the Russian Federation.

It is also worrying that a sister organisation of the Tribunal, the UN Mission in Kosovo, refuses to co-operate fully with the Tribunal. My office has nowadays more difficulties to access documents belonging to UNMIK than in any other place in the former Yugoslavia. Furthermore, the UNMIK leadership is encouraging a climate which deters witnesses from talking to my investigators when it comes to the Albanian perpetrators. Very recently, there have been some indications that the UNMIK is willing to take a more constructive attitude in its relations with my office.

Mrs. President,

I explained at length in my last report why Karadžić and Mladić are still at large more than 10 years after they were first indicted. My assessment remains the same today. Serbia has to do much more to arrest and transfer Ratko Mladić. The arrest of Radovan Karadžić is a shared responsibility of Serbia, Republika Srpska, NATO and EUFOR. It is pathetic that today, nobody is searching actively for Karadžić. The planned downsizing of EUFOR will further aggravate the situation. Since no one else seems to have the political will to locate and arrest Karadzic and Mladić, I will have no choice but to seek from the Council the powers to arrest fugitives where ever they are and to allocate to my Office the necessary resources for this. Ultimately, I do not see any other way for the ICTY to fulfil its mandate and satisfy the legitimate expectations the victims placed into the United Nations.

SERBIAN MEDIA FUELS DISINFORMATION

April 22, 2006 1 comment

Prosecution Dismisses Stanisic and Simatovic Speculation

Prosecution spokesman Anton Nikiforov has spoken out against suggestions in the Serbian media that two former members of the Serbian State Security Service, DB, Franko Simatovic and Jovica Stanisic, have been acquitted of charges relating the Srebrenica massacre.

At a routine tribunal press conference on April 19, Nikiforov underlined that the source of the speculation, a decision issued a week earlier by the judges overseeing the case, in fact only concerned clarifications to the indictment against the two men.

The charge sheet against Simatovic and Stanisic includes several paragraphs detailing the murders of over 8,000 Bosniak prisoners from the town of Srebrenica in July 1995 and subsequent efforts to cover up the atrocity.

The judges wanted prosecutors to make it clear that as far as these crimes go, Simatovic and Stanisic are only charged on the basis of the murders of six particular prisoners from Srebrenica, whose executions were captured in a home video which was made public last year.

Those seen in the footage carrying out the murders were members of a paramilitary unit known as the Scorpions, which prosecutors say was subordinated to the DB at the time.

The judges emphasised that any links between this particular crime and a so-called joint criminal enterprise, including the massacre of thousands of other prisoners from Srebrenica, was “a matter for trial”.

They also asked prosecutors to make it clear that Simatovic and Stanisic were not charged with deporting or forcibly transferring people from Srebrenica.