THE HAGUE | 02.09.2009.

TRIBUNAL’S THIRD TRIAL FOR SREBRENICA CRIMES NEARS ITS END

The prosecution began its closing arguments at the trial of the seven Bosnian Serb military and police officers charged with genocide and crimes against humanity in Srebrenica and Zepa in July 1995. The prosecution and the defense will have two weeks to deliver their closing statements

Three years after the trial of Vujadin Popovic, Ljubisa Beara, Ljubomir Borovcanin, Drago Nikolic, Vinko Pandurevic, Milan Gvero and Radivoje Miletic began, the prosecution today started with its closing arguments on the responsibility of the Bosnian Serb military and police officers charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and other crimes in the summer of 1995 in Srebrenica and Zepa.

According to the lead counsel for the prosecution Peter McCloskey, the seven accused deserved to be put in the dock because they deliberately ignored their duty, and allowed the crimes to be committed, failed to prevent crimes and to help the victims, and deliberately chose to participate ‘in this terrible crime’. In the days ahead, various members of the prosecution team will go on to highlight the evidence that proves, in the prosecution’s view, the charges for each of the accused beyond reasonable view.

[IMAGE]4292[/IMAGE]In the course of its case, as prosecutor Nelson Thayer put it, the prosecution proved beyond any doubt that the two former members of the VRS Main Staff, generals Milan Gvero and Radivoje Miletic, had played an important role in the joint criminal enterprise aimed at the permanent elimination of the Muslims from the Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves. Gvero and Miletic both deliberately took part in creating and implementing VRS directives with that objective, the prosecution contends, urging the Trial Chamber to find them guilty on all counts in the indictment charging them with murder, persecution, forcible transfer, deportation and crimes against humanity.

The evidence called during the trial, the prosecution argues, has shown without any doubt that General Miletic authored the famous Directive 7. Signed by Radovan Karadzic, Directive 7 orders the troops to ‘employ daily planned and well thought out combat activities to create conditions for the people in Srebrenica and Zepa to feel totally insecure, unbearable and without prospects for the future’. ‘There is simply no evidence’ to corroborate the defense’s claim that the original text Miletic had drafted was later rewritten in the RS Presidency and that Miletic explicitly disagreed with its contents, the prosecution concluded.

According to the prosecution, there is no evidence to support the claims of Milan Gvero’s defense that the former deputy commander for morale, legal and religious issues had no influence in the VRS Main Staff as he openly opposed General Mladic. The evidence has shown, the prosecution argued, that in light of the pattern of Mladic’s behavior, had Gvero actually opposed him, he would not have be able to hold on to his post in the Main Staff. In fact, Gvero was a member of the closest circle of the Main Staff officers that Mladic tapped to escort him most often.

As today’s hearing drew to a close, prosecutor Kweke Vanderpuye began presenting the prosecution argument about the responsibility of the two first-accused, former chief of security in the Drina Corps Vujadin Popovic and his superior officer Ljubisa Beara, chief of security in the VRS Main Staff.

The prosecution continues with its closing argument tomorrow.