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Monday, 13 March, 2000, 11:12 GMT
Q and A: General Krstic on trial

Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic has been found guilty of genocide at the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague for alleged atrocities in the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica - supposedly a UN safe area - six years ago. South-east Europe analyst Gabriel Partos explains the key issues surrounding the trial.

Just how important a figure is General Krstic?

General Krstic is the highest-ranking Bosnian Serb to go in the dock in The Hague - two other generals are currently awaiting trial. And the case of Srebrenica is widely regarded as the most tragic episode in the wave of ethnic cleansing that engulfed Bosnia-Hercegovina during the war of 1992-95.

What was the General's role?

As deputy commander of the Bosnian Serb army's Drina corps, he was involved in the planning and execution of the military campaign that led to the capture of Srebrenica on 11 July 1995. He was appointed corps commander on or just before 14 July - during the time when Muslim men and boys were being taken away to be killed.

But the Bosnian Serbs' military commander General Ratko Mladic was in overall control of operations?

General Mladic - who has also been indicted over Srebrenica - made a point of going there to oversee operations in the captured enclave and accept the surrender of the Dutch UN peackeepers. There is much television footage showing him in Srebrenica at the time. But in July 1995 the Bosnian Serbs' wartime leader, Radovan Karadzic - another indictee, like General Mladic, still in hiding - publicly singled out General Krstic for praise, saying that he was a "great commander" and had done "an extraordinary job".

What are the specific charges?

General Krstic was accused of planning, preparing and carrying out the killings of thousands of captured Muslim men; failing to punish any of those in his charge who committed the murders - whether as part of organised mass executions or as opportunistic killings of victims attempting to flee; and of organising the digging up of mass graves and the reburial of corpses in secondary graves in an bid to remove evidence of the atrocities.

What has General Krstic said about the charges?

The defendant pleaded not guilty. Mr Krstic's defence lawyers say that he was elsewhere at the time, preparing for the capture of the Muslim enclave at Zepa.

See also:

16 Nov 99 | Europe
Srebrenica report blames UN
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