Criminal complaint against persons suspected to have committed a criminal act of genocide in Srebrenica, BiH
Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) filed a criminal complaint with the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor of the Republic of Serbia against an unspecified number of members of the former Army of the Republika Srpska (VRS), believed to be responsible for committing a criminal act of genocide against over 1800 Bosnian Muslims from Srebrenica in July 1995.
The criminal complaint was filed against Petar Salapura, the then colonel of the VRS and chief-of-staff of the Administration of the Intelligence Bureau of the Headquarters of the VRS; Radoslav Janković, the then colonel of the VRS and deputy chief-of-staff of the Administration of the Intelligence Bureau of the Headquarters of the VRS; Milorad Pelemiš, the then lieutenant of the VRS and commander of the Tenth Commando Platoon of the VRS; Dragomir Pećanac, the then assisting commander and personal secretary of general Ratko Mladić; Milo Petrović, the then major of the VRS and deputy commander of the military police of the Bratunac Infantry Brigade of the Drina Corps of the VRS; Radoslav Kremenović, the then commander of the Vlasenica Platoon of the Tenth Commando Platoon; Franc Kos, the then commander of the Bijeljina Platoon of the Tenth Commando Platoon, a number of members of the Tenth Commando Platoon of the Army of Republika Srpska, two unidentified military police officers from the Military Police unit of the Drina Corps, and a number of unidentified higher and lower ranking officers and soldiers of the Army of the Republika Srpska who were in July 1995 members of the then Tenth Commando Platoon of the Bratunac Infantry Brigade and Zvornik Brigade from the Drina Corps of the Army of Republika Srpska, all for the commitment of the war crime of genocide according to Article 14 of the Criminal Code of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (KZ SRJ) with regards to Article 22 of the KZ SRJ as co-perpetrators.
The Tenth Commando Platoon of the Army of Republika Srpska was formed in 1993 as the first special operations unit of the VRS for the purpose of conducting commando and other special tasks “in the background, behind the enemy’s back.” The Tenth Platoon consisted of two special platoons – the Vlasenica Platoon and the Bijeljina Platoon. Members of the Platoon were trained by the Yugoslav Army (VJ) in Serbia and special equipment used by the Tenth Platoon was also provided by the VJ.
In accordance with plans of the VRS Headquarters, the accused Salapura ordered Pelemiš, as commander of the Tenth Commando Platoon to conduct timely preparation of the Platoon, including leading it in a shared-command operation of military and police units which was jointly undertaken for the purpose of taking over the town of Srebrenica.
On the very first day of their arrival in Srebrenica, members of the Tenth Platoon killed approximately 200 elderly and ailing Srebrenica Muslims who were unable to flee to the base camp of the United Nations Dutch Battalion in Potočari, and in the night of July 13, together with the soldiers of the Bratunac Brigade and with local Serbs from Bratunac, killed 100 Muslims who had been previously taken out of Potočari.
Following an order issued by the accused Pelemiš, eight members of the Tenth Platoon, one of whom was Dražen Erdemović, went to Zvornik on July 16. In the agricultural field of a military farm in Branjevo, not far from the Pilice village, eight of them and eight members of the Bratunac Brigade executed approximately 1200 Muslim prisoners from the Srebrenica area in a matter of hours. After that, the same members of the Bratunac Brigade went to the Cultural Center in the village of Pilice, where additional 500 Muslims were killed.
Pelemiš himself ordered the execution of a young Muslim civilian, which was conducted by his subordinant officer from the Tenth Platoon, and Pelemiš himself personally participated, together with his subordinant officers, in the killing of another young Muslim man who had previously given them DEM 100,000 in order to spare his life.
By conducting the criminal proceedings for the crime of genocide, as described in the criminal complaint filed by the HLC, Serbia will fulfil its constitutional and legal obligations as a state that ratified the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Article 1 of the Convention implies that all states which ratified the Convention undertook the obligation to prevent and punish the crime of genocide.