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Bosnian Serb Policemen’s Srebrenica Acquittal Challenged

13. September 2013.00:00
The Bosnian prosecution has appealed against the acquittal of Dragan Neskovic and Zoran Ilic, demanding a retrial for crimes against humanity over allegations that Bosniaks they captured were massacred.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

“We ask that the acquittal be quashed and the case sent for retrial, where new evidence would be presented, which would establish the state of facts completely and find Neskovic and Ilic guilty,” the Bosnian state prosecutor, Predrag Tomic, said on Friday.

The men, who both served with the Bosnian Serb special police brigade’s Jahorina Training Centre, were found not guilty in October last year of capturing Bosniaks from Srebrenica in July 1995 and transporting them to an agricultural cooperative in Kravica near the town of Bratunac, where around 1,000 of them were murdered.

Tomic however argued that the verdict had got the facts wrong.

He said that it was impossible that Neskovic and Ilic were not aware of the wide-ranging and systematic Bosnian Serb assault on the UN ‘safe zone’ of Srebrenica, and that their actions were a part of the attack plan.

“The fate of [Srebrenica Bosniaks] was obvious to everyone, even Neskovic. He was in Potocari [near Srebrenica] on July 12 and 13 and no one, not even him, could claim he did not know what was happening there, and that what was happening was terror,” said Tomic.

Explaining the acquittal verdict last year, the judge said that some witness testimony had significant discrepancies and errors, rendering it unreliable.

Neskovic and Ilic’s defence asked for the prosecution’s appeal to be dismissed and the acquittal confirmed.

Neskovic’s lawyer, Vesna Tupajic-Skiljevic, said that the prosecution failed to prove her client was in charge.

“Claims that he had command responsibility are arbitrary and it has not been proven by anything, not even by numerous witnesses,” said Tupajic-Skiljevic.

Ilic’s lawyer, Milos Peric, said that the prosecution’s claim that Ilic had threatened witnesses during the trial was false.

“Such claims are a product of fabrication and wrongful assertion by the prosecution. Had the trial chamber thought so, it would have remanded Ilic in custody,” said the lawyer.

The court will rule on the appeal at a later date.

Mirna Buljugić

This post is also available in: Bosnian