Swiss authorities followed improper procedure in their arrest of former Bosnian Muslim military commander Naser Oric in Geneva on Wednesday, said Bosnia’s Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic on Friday in Sarajevo.
Oric’s arrest is based on an international warrant issued by Serbia which alleges his participation in war crimes in the 1990’s. However the Bosnian authorities were surprised by the accusations, having received no information from Serbia. Moreover, Oric’s name had been deleted from the Interpol wanted list long ago.
In 2006, Oric was sentenced by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to two years in prison for not doing enough to prevent crimes committed against Serbs during the Balkan conflict. He was acquitted of all charges two years later.
The Bosnian Prime Minister urged Serbia on Friday to observe the provisions of a bilateral agreement dating from 2013, which calls for the process to be conducted in the suspect’s homeland – in this case Bosnia.
A Dutch appeals court ruled on Wednesday that three former Dutchbat commanders will not be prosecuted for their role in the massacre of Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995.
Family members of three victims had asked the Dutch court to order the prosecution of Dutch commanding officer Thom Karremans, his deputy Rob Franken and personnel officer Berend Oosterveen, accusing them of knowingly allowing or forcing three Muslim men to leave the UN peacekeepers compound, which led to their deaths.
The three former UN Dutchbat commanders led the Dutch soldiers during the fall of the Muslim enclave. About 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered and buried in mass graves in mid-July 1995 at Srebrenica by Serb forces commanded by Ratko Mladic, himself now on trial for genocide and war crimes before the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
According to the court in Arnhem, prosecutors had made the right judgment in deciding last year not to prosecute the three soldiers for forcing two of the men to quit the compound after reaching terms with the Serbs. It held that there was no basis to assume that the three former commanders knew about the massacres that had taken place elsewhere (paragraph 9.3 of the ruling). Moreover, the former Dutchbat commanders had no knowledge at the time of the genocidal intent of the Bosnian Serbs (paragraph 11.1 of the ruling). Continue reading
ICTYs Vice-President Carmel Agius during the opening ceremony
Last month, the SENSE News agency has inaugurated the Srebrenica Documentation Center. The purpose of the Center is to show how the events in July 1995 in Srebrenica were investigated, reconstructed and prosecuted before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Members of the many victims’ associations such as the Mothers of Srebrenica, political representatives from BH, the diplomatic corps and non-governmental organizations from Sarajevo, Zagreb, Belgrade, Podgorica and entire region were present at the opening ceremony. The opening attracted a lot of media interest.
Various representatives addressed the audience. Amongst them, the speech of the ICTYs vice-president Carmel Agius caused a great deal of interest. The Maltese judge sees the opening of the Center as an important aspect of the Tribunals legacy and the best way to present the Tribunals work and to put the archives from The Hague to use. Continue reading
Dutch Peacekeepers in Srebrenica in 1995 [AP Photo]
In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, Liora Sion discusses the condemnation of the Dutch State for the deaths of 300 Bosnian Muslims, men and boys, in Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in July 1995. During the war, these Bosniaks sought refuge in a United Nations base where the Dutch peacekeepers were stationed. The Dutch subsequently handed the men and boys to the Bosnian army which decided to kill them afterwards.
For Liora Sion, the Dutch officials knew the danger they caused in Bosnia. She could experience the situation on the ground as she accompanied Dutch NATO peacekeepers in Bosnia and Kosovo as part of her field work for a PhD thesis.
She says that the soldiers she saw were men with little training and that holding them responsible for what happened in Srebrenica would be wrong.
However, she says that the commanders were responsible for the killings as they should have known that these Bosnian men would be killed because there was strong evidence of the Serbs commiting war crimes. Continue reading
Mothers of Srebrenica
Today, a court in The Hague, Netherlands, ruled that the Netherlands is liable for the killings of more than 300 Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys at Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in July 1995.
During the 1992-1995 war, thousands of Bosniaks sought refuge in the UN base just outside Srebrenica, at Potocari, where the Dutch peacekeepers were stationed.
However, while the women and young children were transported to a Bosniak-majority area, the Dutch soldiers handed more than 7000 men and boys over to the Bosnian Serb army, telling them that they would be safe. All of them subsequently got killed by the Bosnian army.
The Hague court said that the Netherlands must accept some degree of responsibility for what happened and pay compensation to the families of 300 victims.
The Hague court did not hold the Dutch state liable for the death of the other men killed in Srebrenica, saying that many of the male refugees at the time had not fled to the UN compound in Potocari but rather to the woods in the vicinity of Srebrenica. As a consequence, many of the relatives of the victims wont be entitled to compensation.
The case was launched by
relatives of the victims under the name Mothers of Srebrenica.
Many of remains of the victims still lie in mass graves in Eastern Bosnia.
Mothers of Srebrenica
This Monday, survivors of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre opened a civil suit against the Dutch government. They argue that the Dutch peacekeepers in Srebrenica did not protect the victims of Europe’s worst massacre since the second world war.
“They did not prevent the murder of thousands of civilians,” the group’s lawyer, Marco Gerritsen, told the district court in The Hague, where the case is being heard.
The legal action was first brought in 2007 by victims’ group the Mothers of Srebrenica, in connection with the massacre during Bosnia’s three-year war in the early 1990s.
The Mothers of Srebrenica, representing some 6,000 widows and victims’ relatives, have been seeking justice for several years for the massacre, which the UN’s international court of justice has ruled was genocide. Continue reading