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Last Updated: Friday, 7 October 2005, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK
Serb video 'executioners' charged
By Matt Prodger
BBC News, Belgrade

Victim is shown with hands tied

Five former Serbian policemen who allegedly featured in a gruesome video massacring Muslims from Srebrenica in 1995 have been charged with murder.

Prosecutors in Belgrade say the five men are former members of a Serbian police unit called the Scorpions.

The video sparked outrage in the Balkans when it was broadcast by television stations in June.

The forthcoming trial is the first time that Serbia has tried people over the massacre of more than 7,000 Muslim men.

Shot in the back

The harrowing video, which was apparently a trophy film shot by a member of the Scorpions, was unearthed by a Serbian human rights activist.

It was made public just a few weeks before the 10th anniversary of the massacre.

It depicted six bruised and battered Muslim men in civilian clothes - the youngest aged 17 - being forced from a truck and marched along a country road before being shot in the back by uniformed gunmen.

The video also provided proof that men from outside Bosnia, under the command of the Serbian interior ministry and not just Bosnian Serbs, were involved in the worst atrocity to have been committed in Europe since World War II.

Milosevic trial

As such, the video has already been used as evidence in the trial of the former Serbian leader, Slobodan Milosevic.

Many in Serbia refuse to believe that civilians were killed in such large numbers at Srebrenica and are under the impression that Serbs were the principal victims rather than the aggressors in the Bosnian war.

Among a large part of the population, the two men most wanted in connection with the massacre - Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic - are considered heroes.

They are believed to be hiding in the Bosnian Serb republic or neighbouring Serbia and Montenegro and were charged in absentia with genocide by The Hague war crimes tribunal.


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