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

Scorpions Trial Drawing to a Close

By Merdijana Sadovic in Sarajevo (TU No 496, 9-Apr-07)
A Belgrade trial of five former Serbian policemen indicted for their alleged part in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre will end this week, with a sentencing judgment expected on April 10.

The five accused - Slobodan Medic, Pero Petrasevic, Aleksandar Medic, Branislav Medic and Aleksandar Vukov - were all members of a notorious Serbian police unit called the Scorpions. They are charged with the murder of six Bosnian Muslim men captured after the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995.

They were arrested in June 2005, only days after an infamous video was presented at the trial of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, which shows the execution of six Bosnian Muslims by members of the Scorpions unit.

It is claimed that the men in uniforms who carried out the executions, and who appear in the video, are the five accused. The men allegedly filmed the video of the incident themselves.

The footage lay hidden for ten years before a former member of the Scorpions contacted a Serbian human rights activist, Natasa Kandic, with information as to its whereabouts.

The video was then secretly passed on to war crimes prosecutors both in Serbia and at the Hague tribunal.

After the policemen in the video had been identified and tracked down, it was broadcast on TV news bulletins across the former Yugoslavia and beyond, causing shock and outrage.

The trial began in December 2005, and the prosecution and the defence presented their closing arguments last week.

The prosecution asked for a maximum sentence for the accused, while the defence called for their acquittal.

Merdijana Sadovic is IWPR Hague programme manager.

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