Three Bosnian Serbs charged with genocide, were today accused of massacring thousands of Muslims “like animals” in the UN safe area of Srebrenica during the Bosnia war.
A fourth defendant has promised to testify against them as part of a plea bargain.
At the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in The Hague, prosecutor Peter McCloskey listed allegations against Colonel Vidoje Blagojevic, Major Dragan Obrenovic and Major Dragan Jokic, all commanding officers in the Bosnian Serb army during the infamous July 1995 killings.
It is the second war crimes trial on the genocide in Srebrenica, where at least 7,000 men and boys were summarily executed in a week of bloodletting at the end of the Bosnian conflict. The court has already convicted Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic.
The indictment initially included a fourth genocide suspect, Momir Nikolic, who changed his plea to guilty last week in a deal with prosecutors. He will be a key witness against the other three men, who have pleaded innocent to multiple war crimes charges.
McCloskey said Nikolic’s testimony would show that when Srebrenica fell to the Serbs “no one intended to do anything with those people but murder them.
“After having seen the evidence, I have no doubt you will find each of the accused guilty as charged,” he said.
McCloskey displayed an image of the triumphant-looking Mladic, boasting on Serbian television after the occupation of the Srebrenica village in an area of Bosnia that was supposed to be under UN protection.
Serb forces overran Srebrenica on July 9, ignoring the poorly armed Dutch peacekeepers in its outskirts. In following days, they rounded up Muslim men by the thousands as they tried to flee.
Women and children were forced onto buses and deported to Muslim-held territory.
The court was shown images of desperate Muslim prisoners peering through a wooden fence before being shipped off to execution sites.
Dozens of buses took them and hundreds of others to former schools, warehouses and other buildings where they were held without food, water or toilets “before being slaughtered like animals,” McCloskey said.
A video showed a pile of bodies outside the Kravica warehouse near Srebrenica, lying in front of a wall pocked by machine gun fire.