Trial of Bosnian Serb accused of genocide transferred from UN tribunal

Trial of Bosnian Serb accused of genocide transferred from UN tribunal

The United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia announced today that it is transferring the case of a Bosnian Serb ex-soldier facing genocide charges over his role in the notorious massacre of Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995.

The trial of Milorad Trbić, a former security officer of the Zvornik Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army, will now take place within the war crimes section of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s court system, according to a news release from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Mr. Trbić has been charged with genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, extermination, murder, persecutions and forcible transfer committed against the civilians of the Srebrenica area between July and November 1995.

The indictment alleges that Mr. Trbić entered an agreement with several other Bosnian Serb military leaders, including Gen. Ratko Mladić, to kill the able-bodied Muslim men who were captured or surrendered after the town of Srebrenica, supposed to be a UN-protected area, fell to the Bosnian Serbs on 11 July.

Mr. Trbić and others are accused of also plotting to remove the remaining Muslim population of Srebrenica and Žepa from Republika Srpska with the intent to destroy that population.

At least 7,000 men and boys were killed when the Srebrenica enclave was overrun and thousands of women and children were deported to other areas.

The indictment states that Mr. Trbić participated with other Bosnian Serb army personnel in an organized effort to conceal the killings and executions of those men and boys by exhuming bodies from initial mass graves and reburying them in secondary graves.

The ICTY which sits at The Hague, has so far transferred 10 accused to Bosnia and Herzegovina for trial, as well as two accused to Croatia and one to Serbia.

The transfers of cases involving low or intermediate-level accused to courts in the countries of the former Yugoslavia are part of the Tribunal’s completion strategy, designed to allow it to concentrate its resources upon the most serious cases.

The ICTY has indicted 161 persons and completed proceedings in the cases of 108 accused since it held its first hearing in November 1994. Under the completion strategy, the Tribunal is scheduled to finish its work by the end of 2010.