Bosnia and Herzegovina on Friday sentenced a former Serb commander to nine years in prison for aiding genocide by assisting the detention and killing of more than 800 Bosniak men from Srebrenica in July 1995. 

The men were detained by Bosnian Serb forces in a school building in the village of Rocevic, near Zvornik, and then killed on the banks of the River Drina near Kozluk.

Srecko Acimovic, who served as the commander of the 2nd Battalion, Zvornik Brigade, Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) during the Bosnian War between the years of 1992 and 1995, was found guilty of having deliberately offered assistance from July 14-16, 1995 to members of a joint criminal enterprise whose plan was to detain, summarily execute and bury able-bodied Bosniak men from Srebrenica.

“Deliberately offered assistance in the execution of the plan and the commission of genocide against the Bosniaks. The defendant was aware that they would be killed, but he then knowingly committed acts aimed at carrying out the plan to commit genocide.”

“Acting on orders received from the Zvornik Brigade’s command, the defendant provided ammunition and issued an order to transport the captives to the banks of the Drina River in Kozluk, where they were summarily killed and buried at an old gravel factory site. On that day – July 15, 1995 – 818 men from Srebrenica were killed,” said judge Stanisa Gluhajic.

The court stated that Acimovic was also responsible for the attacks against Bosniak civilians in the region, which resulted in genocide.

In the early 1990s, Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces who were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats. 

The UN Security Council had declared Srebrenica a “safe area” in the spring of 1993. However, Serb troops led by Gen. Ratko Mladic — later found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide — overran the UN zone. 

The Dutch troops failed to act as Serb forces occupied the area, killing about 2,000 men and boys on July 11 alone. Some 15,000 Srebrenica people fled into the surrounding mountains, but Serb troops hunted down and killed 6,000 of them in the forests. 

More than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed after Bosnian Serb forces attacked the UN “safe area” of Srebrenica in July 1995, despite the presence of Dutch troops tasked with acting as international peacekeepers.

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