First Arrests Made in 1995 Srebrenica Massacre

One suspect on the run after pre-dawn raids
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2015 6:22 AM CDT
'Butcher' of Srebrenica Among 7 Nabbed in Serbia
Serbia's war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic gestures during an interview with the AP in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, March 18, 2015.   (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

The first steps to justice have taken a glacial 20 years, but Serbia has made its first arrests in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 1,000 Muslim boys and men. Police arrested seven men in early morning raids across Serbia and one suspect is on the run, the chief Serbian war crimes prosecutor tells the AP. "They are former members of a special brigade of the Bosnian Serb police," he says. Nedeljko Milidragovic, 58, a commander known as "Nedjo the Butcher," was among those detained. "There are other suspects in Serbia and neighboring countries and we are after them as well," a deputy prosecutor tells Reuters. Though Serbia has previously charged others with aiding the crime, he says the arrests mark "the first time that our prosecutor's office is dealing with the mass killings of civilians and war prisoners in Srebrenica."

After heavy shelling, Bosnian Serb forces led by Ratko Mladic—now on trial at The Hague—entered Srebrenica in 1995 and crammed 1,000 men and boys into a warehouse. They then fired several rounds into the building and heaved grenades through the windows. When 100 survivors remained, Milidragovic allegedly ordered them out of the building and promised they would be spared; they were murdered, too. Some 8,000 men and boys were killed over three days in a crime since ruled a genocide, the BBC reports. After the Bosnian war, Milidragovic built a successful trucking business with funds stolen from his victims, prosecutors say. Serbian prosecutors worked together with their Bosnian counterparts to investigate the case. (In December, the same prosecutors cracked the case of the 1993 Strpci massacre.)

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