Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change
Beara, a frail-looking elderly man dressed in a dark brown suit, spoke only to enter his pleas on the November 11 hearing in front of Judge Iain Bonomy.
The former Bosnian Serb army security chief was a long-time associate of the tribunal’s most wanted fugitive, Ratko Mladic, and acted as his chief of security.
Beara apparently surrendered to the Belgrade authorities last month, some two years after he was indicted by The Hague. He faces six counts of genocide or complicity to commit genocide, violations of the laws and customs of war, and crimes against humanity.
The indictment alleges that the 65-year-old - one of the highest-ranking Srebrenica accused to appear in The Hague - was responsible for planning the murders of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys after Bosnian Serb forces overran the UN safe haven of Srebrenica in July 1995.
Beara’s appearance came one day after the authorities in Republika Srpska formally apologised for the massacre.
The statement, which was published on a government website, was the first to acknowledge responsibility for the crime, which was formally classed as genocide by The Hague earlier this year.
The trial of former Bosnian Serb leader Momcilo Krajsnik was disrupted this week when one session went on for so long that the trial chamber ran out of audio tape on which to record proceedings.
Presiding judge Alphons Orie told the court that such an event had never happened before during his time on the Hague tribunal bench. The court sessions are usually timed to prevent such an occurrence, and breaks are used to set up fresh tapes.
The defence examination of Boro Bjelobrk, the second witness to appear this week, remains unfinished as a result. A decision will be taken at a later stage whether or not to recall the witness.
Alison Freebairn is an IWPR editor in The Hague.
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