Serbia prepares for possibility of new Srebrenica trial

23 March 2015 by Joost van Egmond, Belgrade (Serbia)

In a police action hailed as a major breakthrough, Serbia arrested last week eight suspects of mass killings after the fall of the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in 1995. If they face court, it will be the biggest trial for war crimes in Serbia so far.

Preparations for the burial of Srebrenica victims at the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide in 2010 (Photo: Stephanie van den Berg)
Image caption: 
Preparations for the burial of Srebrenica victims at the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide in 2010 (Photo: Stephanie van den Berg)

The Serbian special prosecutor for war crimes linked the 18 March arrests to the more than a thousand Bosnian civilians who were murdered at the Kravica warehouses as part of the Srebrenica massacre, one of the bloodiest episodes of a genocide that left around 8,000 dead.

Legal proceedings against any of the eight men would constitute only the second time that Serbia brings to trial suspects of the Srebrenica killings, which local officials are reluctant to label a “genocide”. At least two of the suspects were indicted in Bosnia years ago, but lived freely in Serbia as Serbian nationals. 

The arrests were another sign of improved cooperation between the Bosnian and the Serbian special prosecutors for war crimes. Last year also saw a wave of cross-border arrests in with the two countries worked closely together.

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