Former Bosnian Serb Interior Minister Tomislav Kovac, charged with genocide for controlling police forces involved in the mass executions of Bosniaks from Srebrenica, did not appear in court for his plea hearing.
Judge Halil Lagumdzija said on Wednesday that Kovac does not live in Bosnia and Herzegovina and he had been informed about the plea hearing via international legal assistance, but still did not appear in court.
Kovac’s lawyer Nina Kisic said that she was told that her client – who lives in Serbia – has health problems.
“I was informed he had medical issues and we will send the court the medical evidence,” Kisic said.
The Bosnian prosecution charged Kovac with genocide, alleging that as interior minister of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska and commander of its police force, he controlled all the police forces involved in war crimes against Bosniaks from Srebrenica.
The indictment alleges that police units under his control participated in the capture of Bosniak men and boys, their forcible imprisonment, transportation to and mass executions in several locations.
The execution sites included Kravica, Cerska, the House of Culture in Pilica, Branjevo farm, Sandic, Konjevic Field, and other locations where mass and individual shootings of captured Bosniak civilians were carried out.
Kovac currently lives in the Serbian capital Belgrade and has citizenship of both Serbia and Bosnia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
More than 7,000 Bosniak men and boys were killed in July 1995 after Bosnian Serb forces overran the UN-protected ‘safe zone’ of Srebrenica – a crime which has been classified by international court verdicts as genocide.
Judge Lagumdzija said the court will wait for Kovac’s medical documents and then ask for the prosecution’s opinion on them.