By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
7 Bosnian Serbs guilty of genocide in Srebrenica
Munira Subasic, the head of the association Mothers of Srebrenica, reacts, in front of the Bosnian war crimes court, Tuesday, July 29, 2008. The court sentenced seven Bosnian Serbs to 284 years in jail for genocide committed in Srebrenica but acquitted four for which Subasic believes were also guilty. Subasic runs the association that gathers widows and mothers of victims of the worst massacre in Europe after World War II - a slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men by Bosnian Serb forces in 1995. Subasic lost a son in the massacre. - photo by Associated Press
    SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — The Bosnian war crimes court convicted seven Bosnian Serbs of genocide Tuesday in the 1995 massacre of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica and handed down prison sentences ranging from 38 to 42 years. Four others were acquitted.
    Issuing their first sentence related to Europe’s worst massacre since World War II, judges at the war crimes court sent three of the former policemen to jail for 42 years, another three away for 40 years and one for 38 years.
    The verdict comes as Serbia prepares to extradite former Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic — also indicted for genocide in Srebrenica — to the separate U.N. war crimes tribunal in Netherlands. Karadzic was arrested last week in Belgrade after hiding for over a decade.
    The seven men were found guilty of killing more than 1,000 captured Bosnian Muslim men and boys after Bosnian Serb forces overran the eastern town of Srebrenica — a U.N.-protected enclave for civilians during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.
    The seven hunted down Muslims who tried to escape the Serb roundup. Many victims surrendered after being told they would be safe but instead about 1,000 were brought to a warehouse and killed inside by automatic rifles and hand grenades.
    The Bosnian court said their crimes were part of a widespread, systematic attack against Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica, carried out by Serb forces ‘‘with a joint plan to annihilate’’ the group.
    In all, about 8,000 Bosnian men and boys were slaughtered at Srebrenica, a massacre the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, has ruled was genocide.
    Widows and mothers of the victims were in the courtroom when the verdict was read.
    ‘‘Nothing can ease my pain,’’ said Munira Subasic, a woman from Srebrenica who lost her son in the massacre. Her son’s body has never been found, although over 3,200 other victims have been found in nearby mass graves, identified through DNA analysis and reburied.
    Subasic said, despite the sentences issued Tuesday, the Bosnian Serb forces did succeed in establishing a Bosnian Serb ministate ‘‘on the blood of our children.’’ Srebrenica is now part of the Bosnian Serb ministate, Republika Srpska, created during the war.
    Bakira Hasecic, the head of the Women Victims of War association, said she was sorry that Bosnia had no death penalty ‘‘so that their mothers, daughters and wives can experience the pain the mothers of their victims are experiencing.’’
    Milenko Trifunovic, Brano Dzinic and Aleksandar Radovanovic received the 42-year sentences, while Milos Stupar, Slobodan Jakovljevic and Branislav Medan each got 40 years and Petar Mitrovic received 38 years.
    The judges acquitted Velibor Maksimovic, Dragisa Zivanovic, Milovan Matic and Miladin Stevanovic, concluding the prosecutor failed to prove beyond doubt that they took part in the war crimes.
    The court concluded that Trifunovic and Radovanovic were in front of the warehouse shooting at prisoners, while Dzinic threw hand grenades at them. Jakovljevic, Medan and Mitrovic guarded the rear of the warehouse to prevent the detainees from escaping.
    Mitrovic also fired his automatic rifle at the detainees. Stupar was their commander and knew what his subordinates were doing.
    The panel of judges concluded that all of them perpetrated these acts with genocidal intent.
    The Serb troops were led by genocide fugitive Gen. Ratko Mladic. Along with Mladic, Karadzic is accused of masterminding the Srebrenica genocide and faces 11 war crimes charges in The Hague.

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter