Press Release . Communiqué de presse
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The Hague, 23 May 2005
On Saturday, 21 May 2005, The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Republika Srpska and the Tribunal’s Outreach Programme held a conference in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, entitled "ICTY Cases in Relation to War Crimes Committed in Srebrenica".
Since its establishment, the ICTY has made investigating and prosecuting those responsible for the crimes in and around Srebrenica in 1995 a top priority. Nineteen individuals, most at a senior level of responsibility, have been charged for the part they played in the crimes.
The conference enabled the Tribunal to provide those most affected by the crimes, the local community, with a detailed and comprehensive picture of the Tribunal’s activities in relation to the serious violations of international humanitarian law that were committed in the area of Srebrenica during the 1992-1995 armed conflict. The audience comprised members of victims’
associations, municipal authorities, judicial institutions and law enforcement agencies, as well as local politicians and civil society representatives
Making extensive use of photographs and video footage, representatives from the Tribunal were able to give an insight into the meticulous and painstaking investigations conducted by the Tribunal and explain how the crimes and the responsibility of the perpetrators were proven beyond reasonable doubt before the court.
The focus of the conference was on three cases in which final judgements have been rendered in relation to the events that took place in and around Srebrenica in July 1995 when Bosnian women, children and elderly were forcibly removed from the Srebrenica enclave and between 7,000 – 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were systematically murdered.
General Radoslav Krstić of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) was found guilty of aiding and abetting genocide and was sentenced to 35 years’ imprisonment. Deputy Commander of the VRS Zvornik Brigade Dragan Obrenović pleaded guilty to persecutions as a crime against humanity and was sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment. Dražen Erdemović pleaded guilty to violations of laws and customs of
war for taking part in the executions and was sentenced to five years imprisonment. Both Obrenović and Erdemović have testified against other accused at the Tribunal.
Appeals are pending in relation to three other accused that have been convicted for participation in the crimes at Srebrenica. Trials are yet to begin or to be finished against 13 other accused, ten of whom are in custody. The Tribunal is also currently trying Naser Orić who is charged with crimes against victims of Serb ethnicity.
Reactions of the conference audience highlighted the need to persist with efforts to bring to justice perpetrators of all crimes, regardless of the nationality of the victims or the perpetrators. ICTY representatives reiterated the Tribunal’s preparedness to continue to do all it can to assist domestic authorities in bringing further prosecutions.
The conference was the fourth in a series entitled "Bridging the Gap Between the ICTY and Communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina" in which the Tribunal deals directly with the immediate communities most affected by the crimes at the heart of ICTY cases. Previous events have been held in Brčko, Foča and Konjic.
This series of events is generously supported by the "Neighbourhood Programme" of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
CD ROM’s provided to conference attendees are available in Bosnian / Croatian / Serbian (BCS) and English upon request to the Outreach Programme. Similar CD ROM's are also available from the Brčko, Foča and Konjic events.
The ICTY Outreach Programme is a United Nations Trust Fund generously supported by voluntary contributions provided by the European Commission.
All proceedings can be followed live on the Tribunal’s website www.un.org/icty.