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Bosnia: Killing of thousands of Muslims 'delibertate and premeditated'

last update: February 15, 17:45

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The Hague, 15 Feb. (AKI) - A prosecution witness in the trial of wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic described on Wednesday before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia what he called “deliberate killings” of thousands of Muslims in eastern Bosnia in July 1995.

Ending a three-day testimony, the witness, Momir Nikolic, said the killing of up to 8,000 Muslims in eastern town of Srebrenica in July 1995 was premeditated and planned by Bosnian Serb forces.

A high Bosnian Serb officer, Vujadin Popovic, hinted a day after Srebrenica felled to Serb forces, all Muslim men would be killed, Nikolic said.

“Popovic told me women and children would be transferred to Kladanj (on Muslim-held territory) and that men of military age would be separated,” Nikolic, a former captain of Bosnian Serb army, said.

“I asked him what will be with the men and he told me in his manner ‘all balijas (pejorative for Muslims) should be killed, Nikolic told the tribunal. He said the plan was confirmed to him by another officer Ljubisa Beara and Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic.

Nikolic, 56, testified that Mladic visited Muslim prisoners in Konjevic Polje on 13 July 1995 and told them “not to worry” and promising they would be allowed to go “wherever they want”.

When Nikolic asked him what will happen to the prisoners, Mladic gestured with his hand they would be “moved down”, Nikolic said.

Karadzic has been indicted on eleven counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed by the forces under his command. Nikolic himself is serving a 20-year jail sentence and Beara was sentenced to life in prison.

“I feel particularly responsible because I was professor to many of the killed and had no way or power to help them,” he told the court. “I’m sorry I didn’t run away when I realized a crime would take place and I apologize again to all families and victims,” Nikolic concluded.

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