Trbic gets 30 yrs over killing 8,000 Muslims
17/10/2009 12:42:00 PM GMT http://www.aljazeera.com/news/articles/34/Trbic-gets-30-yrs-over-killing-8000-Muslims-.html
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has sentenced a former Serb officer to 30 years in jail for the massacre of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica.
Milorad Trbic, a former assistant commander for security, was found guilty of taking part in the persecution of Bosnian Muslims in the Srebrenica region as well as attempts to cover up traces of the crime.
The court concluded that he was one of the senior Yugoslav officials responsible for the detention, mass execution, and burial of the victims.
The presiding judge, Davorin Jukic said that Trbic had taken part in a "joint criminal enterprise" with other Serb army officers and organized the forcible transfer of Muslims from Srebrenica between July 10 and November 30, 1995.
Some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in the Srebrenica genocide by Serb forces which captured the eastern enclave on July 11, 1995. The massacre is regarded as Europe's worst atrocity following the World War II era.
At the time of the genocide the United Nations had declared Srebrenica a "safe area" and stationed 400 armed Dutch troops in the region.
However the UN peacekeepers from the Netherlands did not intervene to stop the massacre, choosing to stand by and watch. Since then, human rights groups have launched attacks on the UN for its lack of intervention in Srebrenica.
Bosnian Serb leader of the time Radovan Karadzic and his military chief, General Ratko Mladic, are seen as the main perpetrators of the massacre, rape and torture of thousands of women and children, and ethnic cleansing in Srebenica.
After ten years on the run, Radovan Karadzic was finally caught in 2008 and handed over to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at The Hague. Mladic, however, still remains at large.
Trbic, who also played a key role in the event, oversaw the detention of thousands of Muslims in several schools around Srebrenica, where they were kept in inhuman conditions, Jukic explained.
He then arranged their transportation to killing fields where they were executed in great numbers, the judge added.
He personally shot dead a group of "at least 20 Muslims" in the Grbavci School, and a group of "at least 5 Muslims" in the Rocevici School on two separate occasions.
The judge said that the former officer was involved in the removal of the victims' bodies from the mass graves they were originally buried in and their later transfer to "secondary mass graves" to conceal the crime.
Remains of more than 6,000 Srebrenica victims have been found in mass graves across eastern Bosnia. Up to 3,800 have been identified so far using DNA remains.
Despite finding him guilty of the above charges, Jukic refrained from referring to the crimes as genocide. This upset the victims' families who assumed that he had been acquitted of all such charges.
"The sentence was a reward for him. The court might as well have set him free," Hatidza Mehmedovic, who lost her husband and two sons in the massacre, told Reuters.
Although the court issued a statement clarifying the verdict later on, it failed to appease most of the relatives.
After the Bosnian 1992-95 war, Trbic escaped to the United States where he was detained and convicted for breaking immigration laws. In 2005 he was handed over to the ICTY.
The Hague-based court, which indicted Trbic on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of laws or customs of war, handed him over to the Bosnian war crimes court so that the prosecution could begin in June 2007.
Fourteen years after the Bosnian war, an almost complete list of the victims that has been compiled by the Sarajevo-based Research and Documentation Center (IDC) will soon be released to the public on the internet.
According to data collected by the Sarajevo-based Research and Documentation Centre 98,000 people were killed in the Bosnian war - 57,000 soldiers and 40,000 civilians. Muslims accounted for 66 percent of the dead, Serbs for 25 and Croats for eight. Other sources have reported figures of up to 250 thousand.
Source: Press TV