Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Perisic trial delay; Netherlands faces legal action threat over Srebrenica; and Delic trial set for July

By IWPR reporters in The Hague (TU No 503, 25-May-07)
By IWPR
The trial of the most senior officer in the Yugoslav army, scheduled to start in October this year, may be delayed until January 2008, it was announced at a status conference in The Hague this week.



Momcilo Perisic was the chief of the general staff of the Yugoslav army from 1993 to 1998. He is indicted for his alleged role in providing support in personnel, material, funds and logistics to the Republika Srpska during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.



He is also charged as a superior officer for failing to take appropriate measures to prevent crimes committed in Bosnia and Croatia by his subordinates or to punish those responsible.



According to the indictment, Perisic was responsible for aiding and abetting the long-running siege of Sarajevo. It is also alleged that he “had foreknowledge of the attack and the planned massacre of the Bosnian Muslim male population of Srebrenica in July 1995”.



Perisic’s defense lawyer, James Castle, argues the recent judgment from the International Court of Justice, ICJ, in which Serbia was not found to be responsible for genocide in Bosnia, should be taken into account.



He claims that a number of issues pertaining to this case were dealt with in that judgment.



Prosecutor Mark Harmon opposes this, saying the judgment “does not have the force of a precedent”. He also insists the prosecution has much stronger evidence about Belgrade’s role than the ICJ had at the time of the judgment.



The next status conference is scheduled for September 19.



***



An association of Bosnian Muslim women from Srebrenica is to sue The Netherlands for its failure to prevent atrocities in Srebrenica, the HINA Croatian news agency reported this week.



On June 4, wives and mothers whose family members were killed in the 1995 massacre of around 8,000 Muslim men and boys will file a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice, ICJ.



In July 1995, the Srebrenica enclave was a UN safe haven, under the protection of the Dutch contingent of the UN Protection Force in Bosnia.



***



The trial of the former Bosnian army chief General Rasim Delic will begin on July 9, the tribunal announced this week.



Delic is accused of being responsible for crimes committed by foreign Muslim fighters known as "mujahedin", who fought ethnic Serb and Croat forces in central Bosnia between 1993 and 1995.



He is charged on the basis of his superior command responsibility with “murder, cruel treatment, and rape”.



A pre-trial conference will take place on July 2 and the prosecution will issue its opening statement a week later, on July 9.

More IWPR's Global Voices