NOVAK STJEPANOVIC WANTED FOR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY
"They took my daughter Hamedina to a nearby house. I heard that these savages then raped her. Later, they brought her to the creek and shot her in the head. My daughter of 22 years... Mirko must tell me who raped my child, who killed my child? I need to know."
Bosnian Serb war criminal, Novak Stjepanovic (aka: Krke), has been charged with crimes against humanity committed in neighbouring Bratunac municipality, just outside of Srebrenica.
In 1992, Stjepanovic participated in systematic attacks directed against the Bosniak civilian population in a nearby village of Borkovac. He is suspected of also participating in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, but since no witnesses came forward to testify about his involvement in the genocide, he is only charged with the crimes against humanity.
The indictment alleges that Novak Stjepanovic, together with other members of the Bosnian Serb Army, participated in "searching and taking prisoner" a group of 14 Bosniak civilians who hid in an abandoned quarry in the village of Borkovac. The crime occurred on 20 May 1992 when Serb forces around Srebrenica participated in systematic attacks on Bosniak villages and widespread ethnic cleansing of Bosniak population living in the Podrinje region.
Tortured, then Killed
After Stjepanovic and others captured the group of civilians, Stjepanovic repeatedly hit them with fists, kicked them with feet, seized their money and valuables, and used profanities to insult them on ethnic and religious grounds. Then, Stjepanovic and other members of the Bosnian Serb Army took the group to a guest house and killed one of civilian prisoners instantly. They continued torturing the group and then they took them to a nearby creek where they shot them. Seven civilians died instantly.
Novak Stjepanovic has dual citizenship of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. He is currently a fugitive from justice, hiding at large. The international warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Convicted, then Released on 'Technicality'
During the trial of Mirko Todorovic and Milos Radic, a large number of Prosecution witnesses mentioned Novak Stjepanovic as one of the co-perpetrators of this crime. Mirko Todorovic and Milos Radic were sentenced to 13 and 12 years in prison for the same crime.
However, in January the Court released the two convicted war criminals due to legal 'technicalities', namely because "the final verdict was not made within nine months from the publication of the first instance verdict." Since his release, Todorovic went into hiding and is being sought by police.
Witness Hamed Ramic said that he still remembers how Mirko Todorovic, Milos Radic, Novak Stjepanovic and three unknown Bosnian Serb soldiers took the group of 14 of his neighbors on 20 May 1992 - including his son Amer, who was still attending a high school, and 22-year old daughter Hamedina.
"They took my daughter Hamedina to a nearby house. I heard that these savages then raped her. Later, they brought her to the creek and shot her in the head. My daughter of 22 years... Mirko must tell me who raped my child, who killed my child? I need to know," said Ramic.
There is some progress...
Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) on Wednesday arrested three former Serb policemen suspected of participating in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide when Serb forces targeted 40,000 Bosniaks for extinction. Three genocide suspects are identified as: Dusko Jelic (54), Zoran Ilic (43), and Mendeljev Djuric (49). They were arrested in Srebrenica and Bijeljina.
Also, on 16 October 2009, the Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina found former Bosnian Serb army captain Milorad Trbic guilty on one count of genocide and sentenced him to 30 years in prison.
Srebrenica 1992-1995: From 1992-1995 Serbs from heavily militarized villages around Srebrenica had forced approximately 40,000 Bosnian Muslim refugees to live in the Srebrenica ghetto with little or no means of survival. Serb Army stationed around Srebrenica never demilitarized, even though they were required to do so under the 1993 demilitarization agreements. Furthermore, Serbs around Srebrenica constantly attacked neighbouring Bosnian Muslim villages, frequently bombarding them from air and with Serbian airplanes. More than 400 Bosnian Muslim villages were destroyed around Srebrenica in 1992. In July 1995 the Bosnian Serb army staged a brutal takeover of Srebrenica and its surrounding area, where they proceeded to perpetrate genocide. Bosnian Serb soldiers and paramilitary thugs, both groups commonly known as "Chetniks," separated Bosniak families, forcibly expelled 30,000 Bosniaks, and summarily executed at least 8,372 Bosnian Muslims - boys, men, and the elderly.