The Bosnian war crimes tribunal on Tuesday confirmed that charges of genocide were being brought against the former Bosnian Serb police chief for his alleged involvement in the Srebrenica massacre, which killed nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys during the Bosnian War, according to Reuters.
Tomislav Kovac, former interior minister of the Serb Republic of Bosnia who now lives in Serbia, is accused of participating in a “joint criminal enterprise” with the goal of exterminating Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica.
The indictment claims that Kovac was “aware of the fact that his conduct and actions were taking place in the context of a widespread and systematic attack [by Bosnian Serb forces] aimed at the forcible transfer of the Bosniak civilian population and mass liquidation of Bosniak men”.
Furthermore, it alleges that Kovac was involved in “planning, preparing, supporting, aiding and perpetrating the criminal offences” and “making a significant contribution to achieving the common purpose,” reports Balkan Insight.
The result was the systematic massacre of the Muslims in the eastern Bosnian village of Srebrenica after the UN-protected enclave was captured in July 1995 by Bosnian Serb forces commanded by General Ratko Mladic.
It is the only episode of the Bosnian war defined as genocide two by UN tribunals – the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) – and the International Court of Justice (ICC).
Ratko Mladic was sentenced to life in prison for the Srebrenica massacre in November last year in one of the last decisions taken by the ICTY, which brought the tribunal to a close after sitting for 14 years.
Tomislav Kovac is also suspected of hiding evidence of mass executions by moving the bodies of the victims from their original sites and re-burying them in unmarked graves.
Kovac denied the allegations in a court statement presented via video link from Belgrade in 2016 in a lawsuit filed against a group of former Serbian soldiers charged with genocide by the Bosnian war crimes tribunal.