The BiH State Court acquitted five former Bosnian Serb police officers of involvement in the Srebrenica genocide in July 1995 due to lack of evidence.
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina found Miodrag Josipović, Branimir Tešić, Dragomir Vasić, Danilo Zoljić and Radomir Pantić not guilty of participation in the partial extermination of Bosniaks from Srebrenica in July 1995, BIRN reports.
“The prosecution has not proved that the defendants had the intent to commit extermination,” said the presiding judge Minka Kreho, Fena news agency writes.
At the time of the Srebrenica genocide, Josipović was chief of the police’s Public Security Station in the town of Bratunac, Tešić was deputy commander of the police station in Bratunac, Vasić was chief of the Public Security Center in the town of Zvornik, Zoljić was the commander of special police units and Pantić was a company commander of a special police unit.
More than 7,000 Bosniak men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb military and police forces in July 1995 after the Bosnian Serb Army seized the UN-protected ‘safe zone’ of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia – a crime which has been classified by international court verdicts as genocide.
Vasić was acquitted of committing genocide and the other four defendants of assisting the commission of genocide.
Judge Kreho said the prosecution did not present a single piece of evidence linking Vasić with a joint criminal enterprise to commit the crime.
“Merely mentioning his contacts with high-ranking officials of the civilian, military and police authorities is not in itself a sufficient fact for this chamber,” Kreho said.
She also said that no evidence had been presented to prove that Vasić was aware of the key perpetrators’ intent to forcibly remove Bosniak civilians from Potočari near Srebrenica and to execute thousands of men.
Kreho said that the prosecution attempted to prove the defendant was aware of it because of his presence at certain meetings, but evidence about the conclusions of those meetings was not provided.
Josipović was acquitted of issuing an order to engage members of the Public Security Station in Bratunac in separating men from women, children and elderly people in Potočari, as well as taking them and holding them in Bratunac. Tešić was acquitted of implementing the order.
Kreho said the prosecution had not proved that Josipovic issued the order and selected the policemen to carry out the tasks.
The court also ruled that the prosecution had not proved that Vasić, Zoljić and Pantić commanded and supervised police officers, including special police units, during the operation.
The verdict can be appealed.