UN court to deliver judgment in Srebrenica massacre case

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A UN court will hand down judgment Thursday in the trial of eight Bosnian Serb army and police officials charged for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys.

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) had asked judges in September 2009 for a sentence of life imprisonment for all the accused.

Bosnian Serb Army officers Vujadin Popovic, Ljubisa Beara, Drago Nikolic and Vinco Pandurevic are charged alongside police official Ljubomir Borovcanin for genocide and extermination for allegedly having conspired to murder the able-bodied Muslim men in the UN-protected enclave of Srebrenica.

Generals Radivoje Miletic and Milan Gvero, in turn, are charged with murder, persecution, forcible transfer and deportation.

All seven are accused of having sought to forcibly remove all Muslims from the enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa.

"This trial has been the largest conducted to date at the ICTY," said a tribunal statement. Hearings began in July 2006 and more than 5,300 exhibits and 315 witnesses have been presented.

Beara, 70, was a colonel and chief of security of the main staff of the Bosnian Serb Army, Popovic, 53, a lieutenant-colonel, Nikolic, 52, a second lieutenant, Borovcanin, 50, the deputy commander of a special police brigade and Pandurevic, 50, a lieutenant-colonel.

Miletic, 62, was deputy chief of staff of the Bosnian Serb Army and Gvero, 72, an assistant commander who reported directly to Bosnian Serb Army chief Ratko Mladic, who remains a fugitive before the tribunal.

The highest ranking Bosnian Serb sentenced over the massacre to date was Radislav Krstic, the general who led the attack. He was convicted on appeal of having aided and abetted genocide, and was sentenced to 35 years in prison in April 2004.

Srebrenica was overrun on July 11, 1995 by Bosnian Serb forces who loaded men and boys onto trucks, executed thousands, and threw the bodies into mass graves in Europe's worst atrocity since World War II.

© 2010 AFP

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