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Genocide trial of two Bosnian Serbs under way at UN war crimes tribunal

Genocide trial of two Bosnian Serbs under way at UN war crimes tribunal

Two Bosnian Serbs, charged with the genocide of hundreds of Croats and Muslims and the forcible relocation of thousands more in 1992, went on trial before the United Nations war crimes tribunal today in The Hague.

According to the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Radoslav Brdjanin and Momir Talic collaborated to incite Bosnian Serbs in Krajina “to commit crimes against their neighbours under the banner of defending the Serbian people.”

Both have been charged on the basis of individual criminal responsibility and responsibility for the actions of their subordinates. They have also been charged with genocide, crimes against humanity, violations of the laws or customs of war and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

The indictment alleges that in 1991 the leaders of the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), through Crisis Staffs, began preparations to take over power in the Bosnian cities where the Serbs did not have clear control, and for the subsequent implementation of a general plan of ethnically cleansing the areas considered to be "Serbian.” By the end of 1992, hundreds of Bosnian Muslims and Croats were dead and thousands had been forced from those areas.

Beginning in 1991, the leadership of the Bosnian Serb nationalists in the "Autonomous Region of Krajina (ARK),” in order to create support for the SDS programme among the Bosnian Serbs, promoted and disseminated propaganda that portrayed the Bosnian Muslims and Croats as fanatics intending to commit genocide on the Serbian people to gain control of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As a prominent member of the SDS and President of the ARK Crisis Staff, Mr. Brdjanin held the most important position of executive authority in the ARK, the indictment said. Mr. Talic was commander of the JNA 5th Corps/1st Krajina Corps and as such, all plans for military engagement and attack had to be approved by him before any forces were committed to battle or other operations.