Miloševic may be linked to massacre
by Katarina Kratovac, The Hague
Prosecutors at the war crimes trial of Slobodan Milošević may have produced the first document linking the former Yugoslav president to the massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica, legal experts said Friday. The killing of 7,500 Muslims at the UN-protected enclave of Srebrenica in July 1995 was the worse massacre in Europe since World War II. Milošević faces 66 counts of war crimes, including genocide for Srebrenica. He has denied knowledge or involvement in the killings. He has been on trial since February 2002 and is defending himself despite serious heart trouble and illness that has repeatedly delayed hearings.
The one-page document, introduced last week, is dated 10 July 1995, two days before the killings started at the end of the 1992-1995 Bosnian war. The document is signed by the Bosnian Serb wartime staff commander and chief of police Tomislav Kovač, and written on Bosnian Serb Interior Ministry letterhead. It orders seven subordinate officers to move their troops, including the Serbian police unit, to ‘crush the enemy’ in Srebrenica. Milošević was president of neighbouring Serbia at the time.
‘It is very significant, it is the first piece of evidence that places Serbian police in Srebrenica,’ said Judith Armatta, of the Coalition for International Justice, a Washington-based advocacy group. ‘But whether these troops were involved in the massacres is yet to be seen.’ Prosecution spokeswoman Florence Hartmann said the document was just one element in the overall case against Milošević. ‘We will have further elements and bring specific witnesses for Srebrenica,’ she said.
From a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, 22 June 2003