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Bosnia Issues Just One Srebrenica Indictment in a Year

Since the last annual commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide in July 2022, the Bosnian state prosecution has only filed one indictment for Srebrenica crimes – charging a suspect who lives in Serbia and cannot be arrested.

Serbian citizen Miomir Jasikovac, the wartime commander of the military police company of the Bosnian Serb Army’s Zvornik Brigade, was charged with genocide for assisting members of a joint criminal enterprise whose plan was to imprison and execute military-age men from Srebrenica in July 1995 and forcibly relocate women, children and elderly people.

A few days before the confirmation of the indictment in Bosnia, the Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office filed its own indictment charging Jasikovac and on the same day – December 5, 2022 – signed a plea bargain with him.

On the basis of the plea bargain, Jasikovac was sentenced by Belgrade Higher Court to five years in prison for complicity in a war crime against the civilian population.

According to Bosnia’s revised strategy for war crimes cases, the prosecution’s priority should be the most complex cases. But the prosecution claims that in a third of these priority cases, the suspects are unavailable.

War victims’ associations argue however that the prosecution is evading its responsibilities.

Sehida Abdurahmanovic from the Mothers of Srebrenica and Zepa Enclaves association said that war victims are unhappy while perpetrators walk around free.

“We from the association have issued warnings and sent letters about some of the perpetrators, but nothing has happened,” Abdurahmanovic said.

The Bosnian state prosecution said that since its Special Department for War Crimes started operating in 2005, about 50 people have been indicted for genocide and war crimes against Bosniaks from Srebrenica in July 1995.

It said that some of them are still at large and that Interpol has seven active ‘red notices’ calling on states worldwide to arrest them.

When asked how many people are being sought for Srebrenica-related crimes, the prosecution told BIRN that it “cannot provide details about them”. It stated that it is seeking more than 360 unavailable suspects over all its war crimes cases.

The prosecution has previously confirmed that it has 17 Srebrenica cases in the investigation phase with a total of 67 people suspected of genocide and war crimes related to the mass killings during and after July 1995.

There have been a handful of guilty verdicts in Srebrenica-related cases since the last annual commemoration in July 2022.

In May, International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in The Hague sentenced the former heads of the Serbian State Security Service, Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic, to 15 years in prison each for crimes that included responsibility for the executions of captives from Srebrenica by a security service-backed paramilitary unit, the Scorpions, in Trnovo in July 1995.

Over the past 12 months, the Bosnian state court also convicted a former member of the Bosnian Serb Army’ Vlasenica Brigade, Momcilo Tesic, jailing him for 18 years for participating in the execution of 17 men from the Srebrenica area in July 1995 in Mrsici near Vlasenica. This was a first-instance ruling and can be appealed.

But the state court acquitted five former Bosnian Serb police officers of participation in genocide due to a lack of evidence.

The final verdict cleared Miodrag Josipovic, chief of the police’s Public Security Station in the town of Bratunac, Branimir Tesic, deputy commander of the police station in Bratunac, Dragomir Vasic, chief of the Public Security Centre in the city of Zvornik, Danilo Zoljic, commander of special police units and Radomir Pantic, a company commander of a special police unit.

The Hague Tribunal, the Bosnian state court and courts in Serbia and Croatia have so far sentenced a total of 54 people to 781 years in prison – plus five life sentences – for genocide, crimes against humanity and other crimes committed against Bosniaks from Srebrenica in July 1995.

Source : Balkaninsight