"Srebrenica is invariably associated with the most heinous of crimes: forcible transfer, mass murder, and genocide," Del Ponte said. "It is beyond reasonable dispute that genocide and other crimes against humanity were committed in Srebrenica in July 1995."
In her opening remarks, Del Ponte said it is "inexcusable" that Serbia has not yet arrested Ratko Mladic. The fugitive Bosnian Serb general has also been indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal at The Hague for his role at Srebrenica.
The Serbian government's official in charge of cooperation with the tribunal, Rasim Ljajic, called Del Ponte's comments "surprising" and said Belgrade has the political will to arrest Mladic.
The seven former Bosnian Serb officers are facing a joint trial for their alleged involvement in the 1995 massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys.
Five of the suspects face genocide charges for the slaughter that left more than 7,000 dead. The two others are charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. All seven have pleaded not guilty.
The indictment accuses the defendants of being involved in a "joint criminal enterprise" to murder Muslim males who were seeking protection in the UN-protected Srebrenica enclave, and to expel the remainder of the Muslim population of the area in a process described as ethnic cleansing.
(compiled from agency reports)
Coffins of Srebrenica victims being prepared for burial in October (AFP)
THE WORST ATROCITY IN EUROPE SINCE WORLD WAR II: The July 1995 massacre of some 7,000 Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb fighters near the UN-designated safe haven of Srebrenica is the worst atrocity of its kind in Europe since the end of World War II. Since the incident, the name Srebrenica has become practically synonomous with ethnic cleansing....(more)
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