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Two Bosnian Serbs Arrested Over Srebrenica Massacre


A mass grave of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica

A mass grave of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica

SARAJEVO (Reuters) -- Bosnian police have arrested two Bosnian Serb wartime commanders suspected of taking part in genocide against Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in July 1995, a police statement said.

The State Protection and Investigative Agency arrested Momir Pelemis, 59, and Slavko Peric, 61, in the eastern town of Zvornik, where they had served as the Zvornik brigade 1st battalion's deputy commander and an assistant commander.

The suspects will be handed over to the Bosnian war crimes court's prosecutor's office, which had ordered their arrest.

"The suspects will be brought to the Prosecutor's Office due to the grounded suspicion that they committed the criminal offence of genocide ... by participating in the apprehension and execution of 1,700 Bosniak men from the Srebrenica enclave," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Bosnian Serb forces, commanded by General Ratko Mladic, slaughtered about 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys after the town, which was under the protection of United Nations peacekeepers, fell into their hands in 1995.

Most were killed while trying to escape through the woods, either shot down immediately or arrested and brought to warehouses or schools from where they were taken to places of execution, killed, and buried in mass graves.

Pelemis and Peric were suspected of taking part in the execution of 1,700 Muslims in the village of Pilica, where one of the largest mass graves was found, and at the military cooperative at Branjevo, the Prosecutor's Office said.

The Zvornik brigade was one of 13 brigades of the Bosnian Serb Army that comprised the Drina Corps, commanded by General Radislav Krstic, who was jailed for 35 years by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague over the Srebrenica genocide.

The Hague court has sentenced seven Bosnian Serbs for the Srebrenica massacre, Europe's worst atrocity since World War II. Nine more are on trial, and Mladic, seen as the mastermind of the massacre, is on the run 13 years after he was indicted.

In Bosnia, 22 Bosnian Serbs have been put on trial over Srebrenica. Ten have been jailed, four acquitted, and eight are still being tried. The Bosnian war crimes court will issue verdicts for four of them on November 6.

Exhumations in eastern Bosnia are continuing. Forensic experts are working on two mass graves in the village of Kamenica, where 10 such graves have already been found.
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