Hearing postponed again in 1995 Srebrenica massacre trial
BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Another hearing was postponed on Tuesday in the Serbian trial dealing with the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims from Srebrenica, further delaying the landmark proceedings that opened over a year ago.
The trial of eight former Bosnian Serb policemen charged with killing hundreds of Bosnian Muslim prisoners is seen as a test of Serbia’s resolve to help punish those responsible for Europe’s worst crime since World War II.
The proceedings have been constantly delayed and were suspended for several months last year because the indictment was filed while Serbia did not have a chief war crimes prosecutor.
Serbia’s war crimes court rescheduled Tuesday’s hearing for July after one of the eight suspects failed to show up. In another setback, judges said one witness has decided not to testify, citing threats to himself and his family.
Murat Tahirovic, from a Bosnian victims’ association, said the group could ask the Bosnian legal authorities to reclaim the trial which was initially handed over to Serbia as part of regional cooperation.
“It is dragging on and on,” Tahirovic said. “There is no point for us to come here or for the proceedings to go on the way they do.”
Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic, a former ultranationalist who now says he wants the country to join the European Union and make peace with its neighbors, has faced accusations of stalling in his promises to punish war criminals of the 1990s.
The trial in Belgrade focuses on the killing of hundreds of Muslims in a warehouse in Kravica, a village outside Srebrenica, as they tried to escape the Serb onslaught. They were crammed into the warehouse and killed with grenades and machine guns in an all-night rampage.
The suspects have been allowed to remain free as the trial continues.