The Butcher – one of many


Serbia is dragging its feet over bringing to justice eight former Bosnian Serb police officers, two decades after their alleged crimes.

They are all charged with participation in the massacres in 1995 in and around Srebrenica, when around 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered in an anti-Muslim genocide (not that Belgrade, Serbia’s seat of government, accepts that term).

These eight ex-policemen are accused of killings in the town of Kravica, where Muslim men and boys were rounded up and held in a warehouse by a unit of Bosnian Serb police.

Nedeljko Milidragovic, known as “Nedjo the Butcher”, was the head of the unit. He told his men: “nobody gets out alive”, according to the indictment. Then the police began shooting and throwing grenades into the warehouse.

Defence lawyers – just doing their job – are using every procrastinating technicality, including demanding a replacement of the judges. It’s the first time a Serbian court has taken up a case concerning the massacre, which has been ruled a genocide by two international courts.

Munira Subasic, head of the Srebrenica Mothers Association, 22 of whose family were killed in the massacre, is pessimistic about the trial ever reaching a conclusion: “The criminals were allowed to come to the trial as if they were witnesses. They walk free and live normally in Serbia,” she said.

Serbia wants to join the EU. It will be a rich irony that a country which is avoiding bringing murderers to justice joins an association that promotes human rights and free movement of people.

Picture source: Michael Büker via Wikimedia