Serbian priests bless '95 executions
The Serbian prime minister has announced the arrest of several
soldiers shown in a video carrying out executions - apparently in
The video, screened on TV stations across Serbia and Montenegro,
allegedly shows six Bosnian Muslim men from Srebrenica being executed.
The footage is evidence in the trial of ex-Yugoslav leader Slobodan
The arrests came as Serbian officials told UN prosecutor Carla del
Ponte they would hunt fugitive war crime suspects.
The President of Serbia and Montenegro Svetozar Marovic told Ms del
Ponte that former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and wartime
commander Ratko Mladic would be delivered to the war crimes tribunal
at The Hague.
"The Mladic case will be finally successfully concluded within a
month so that this heavy load is taken off our backs," he said.
Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica announced the arrest of
several of the men seen in the execution video after his meeting with
Ms del Ponte.
He described the footage as "shocking and terrible" and said the
perpetrators would be put on trial.
About 8,000 Muslim men and boys were rounded up and killed after
Bosnian Serb forces captured Srebrenica, a UN-protected enclave.
The BBC's Matt Prodger in Belgrade says it is a truly chilling video
which begins with a Serbian Orthodox priest blessing paramilitaries
before they go into battle and ends with what appears to be the same
paramilitaries shooting badly beaten civilians prisoners in the back
with machine guns.
The killers are wearing the uniforms of a unit known as the
Scorpions, which prosecutors say fell under the command of the
Serbian interior ministry.
At one point the man filming the executions complains that the power
supply for the camera is running down and is told by one of the
killers to keep filming as long as he can.
Our correspondent says this is the first time that the Serbian media
has presented the public with such graphic and direct evidence of the
But, he says, despite this, only one newspaper carried the story of
the video on its front page on Thursday.
The 10th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre falls on 11 July, yet
last week a survey suggested that only half of the Serbian population
believe it actually occurred.
The same survey suggested that two-thirds of the public believed that
the men most wanted in connection with the crime - Karadzic and
Mladic - were in fact heroes.
The two indicted men are believed to be hiding in Serbia and
Montenegro or the Bosnian Serb republic.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/06/02 13:51:55 GMT