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Serb jailed for Srebrenica massacre

Published on 10/12/2003

10 December 2003

AMSTERDAM — A former Bosnian Serb army officer has been sentenced to 17 years in jail by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague for his involvement in the killing of 7,000 Muslim men and boys who had been under the protection of Dutch peacekeepers in 1995.

Dragan Obrenovic was sentenced following his guilty plea in May 2003 to one count of crimes against humanity. He had been chief of staff of the Zvornik Brigade of the Bosnian Serbian Army, the tribunal heard.

Obrenovic agreed to plead guilty and in return, prosecutors dropped charges against him of genocide, extermination and murder.

He was the second Bosnian Serb officer to plead guilty to crimes at Srebrenica. The first, Momir Nikolic, was sentenced to 27 years in prison last week — a far longer sentence than that demanded by prosecutors, BBC reported.

The Netherlands supplied a lightly-armed force, known as Dutchbat, to defend the UN-designated “safe area” of Srebrenica in Bosnia during the Serbian-Bosnian war in the early 1990s. Besieged by Bosnian-Serbian troops, led by General Ratko Mladic, the Dutch surrendered in 1995 when the UN failed to provide air support.

The Serbians then allowed the women and girls to leave on buses, but took the males away and slaughtered them. It was the worst massacre in Europe since the Second World War.

A highly-critical report of the Dutch government’s actions during the lead up to the capitulation at Srebrenica caused the downfall of Prime Minister Wim Kok’s coalition Cabinet shortly before the general election of May 2002.

The tribunal’s two most wanted men, Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander, Ratko Mladic, are also accused of responsibility for the Srebrenica massacre as well as the siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo. Both remain at large.

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Dutch news + Srebrenica