Former Bosnia Muslim commander Oric faces re-trial

Former Bosnia Muslim commander Oric faces re-trial

SARAJEVO - Agence France-Presse
Former Bosnia Muslim commander Oric faces re-trial

Bosnian Muslim wartime commander Naser Oric who defended Srebrenica, site of an infamous massacre by Serb forces, faces retrial for war crimes after an earlier acquittal was quashed, his lawyer said on June 6.

"We received the tribunal’s ruling informing us that his (acquittal) was quashed due to serious violation of criminal proceedings," Lejla Covic told AFP.

"The Sarajevo-based Court of Bosnia-Hercegovina ordered that Oric, 51, be re-tried," Covic added.
Contacted by AFP the tribunal confirmed the ruling.

Oric was acquitted in October 2017 of charges of committing war crimes against Serbs while he was defending Srebrenica.

The ruling sparked outrage from Serbian leaders and victims’ groups but was hailed by Bosnian Muslims in a country deeply divided along ethnic lines since its 1992-1995 war.

Oric was one of only a few Bosnian Muslim commanders to face trial for atrocities committed against Serbs.

He was acquitted of killing three ethnic Serb prisoners in 1992. Another Bosnian army soldier was also found not guilty.

Oric’s acquittal came after the judge ruled that the testimony of a protected witness, key for the indictment, lacked credibility and was contradictory.

Victims’ associations estimate that 2,428 Serb civilians and soldiers were killed in the Srebrenica area during the 1992-1995 conflict.

Oric defended Srebrenica, where 8,000 Muslim men and boys were later massacred by Serb forces, the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.

But in 2006, he was sentenced by a UN war crimes court to two years in jail for not doing enough to protect Srebrenica’s Serb population during the war.

He was acquitted on appeal in 2008.