Oric trial sheds new light on Srebrenica

11 July 2005 by HEIKELINA VERRIJN STUART

Naser Oric was commander of the Bosnian Muslim military zone in Srebrenica in the early 1990s. The prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) described Oric as "a warlord, drunk with power". Soldiers from the Dutch UN battalion portrayed him as "a crook, a robber, a pimp and a murderer". He is the only Srebrenica Muslim to be tried at the ICTY. His trial, which began on 6 October 2004, has shed light on a little-known aspect of Srebrenica's history.

Of the many incidents of the wanton destruction of towns and villages attributed to Naser Oric, the attack on Kravica stands out. On 7 January 1999, while the population was preparing for the Christian Orthodox Christmas, several Bosnian units attacked the village. After the violence, the Serb women were left alone with their festive meals while dozens of their men lay dead in the streets, or strewn around the small village square. Although the indictment does not allege large-scale crimes, it details some horrendous acts. Detainees at the Srebrenica Police Station under Oric's command were allegedly beaten over the head with an iron bar, rifle butts, baseball bats and boots. Some were stabbed with knives and others had their teeth extracted with rusty pliers. Six detainees allegedly died as a result.

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