Eight arrested after video of Srebrenica executions shown

Serbian authorities have arrested at least eight men in connection with the murder of Muslims in Srebrenica after a video of the crime was shown at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic.

The Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said, after holding talks with the UN's chief war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte, that "a number of suspects" had been arrested by yesterday for the "shocking crime".

Ms del Ponte was on a short visit to Belgrade, during which Serbian leaders promised to hunt down and arrest within a month General Ratko Mladic, who is wanted by the war crimes tribunal in The Hague for the 1995 slaughter of up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica.

Ms del Ponte described the arrests as "a brilliant operation". "I'm particularly grateful for the reaction on the footage." But she added: "In a few hours they were able to identify the perpetrators. I asked this morning that they react as quickly to arrest the fugitives who are still at large," referring to General Mladic and the former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic.

The prosecution presented the videotape at the war crimes tribunal on Wednesday. It showed the execution of six Bosnian Muslim youths by members of the notorious paramilitary "Scorpions" unit of Mr Milosevic's secret police. The unit committed war crimes against non-Serb civilians in Bosnia, Croatia and in Kosovo.

Short clips of the video were shown on Serbian television on Wednesday night. It was taken by a man participating in the murders at Trnovo, 18 miles south of Sarajevo in Serb-held territory, after the fall of the Bosnian "safe haven" of Srebrenica. At one point in the footage, he claims that the battery of his camera is low. The man is told by one of the executioners to go on as long as he can.

The video begins with a Serbian Orthodox priest blessing paramilitaries before they go into battle. It ends with what looks like the same paramilitaries shooting the six civilian prisoners in the back, with machine guns. The young men appeared to have been severely beaten and had their hands tied behind their backs. The killers in the video are wearing the black uniforms of the Scorpions.

The Srebrenica massacre, the worst war crime in Europe since the end of the Second World War, remains a divisive subject for Serbs. Conservatives and nationalists have convinced the public that the crime is the invention of anti-Serb forces abroad with a recent survey showing that only half the population believe it happened. The same survey suggested that two-thirds of the public believedMr Karadzic and General Mladic were heroes.

But analysts say the airing of the video and the quick action of the authorities might be a prelude to the arrest of the two, which is the precondition for Serbia to start talks with the EU on an association agreement, due to open in October. Ms del Ponte wants General Mladic and Mr Karadzic to be arrested and extradited to The Hague by 11 July, the tenth anniversary of the massacre.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement