Massacre still inspires hatred

0
Have your say

Twenty five years after the largest mass murder in Europe since the Second World War, the name Srebrenica still inspires horror and hatred.

And when three Muslim inmates in a prison in Yorkshire discovered they were being held under the same roof as one of the men held responsible, they hatched a plan to take bloody revenge.

More than 8,000 Muslim men and boys in and around the town of Srebrenica were rounded up and killed by Serbian forces during the Bosnian war.

In April 1993, the besieged enclave had been designated a “safe area” under United Nations protection.

But in July 1995 the UN Protection Force, represented on the ground by 600 lightly armed Dutch peacekeepers, failed to prevent the town’s capture by the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) and the subsequent massacre.

Radislav Krstic was the Deputy Commander and Chief-of-Staff of the Drina Corps of the Bosnian Serb Army.

On 13 July, 1995, General Ratko Mladic appointed Krstic commander. The Drina Corps was the VRS military formation tasked with planning and carrying out operation ‘Krivaja 95’, the attack on Srebrenica.

Krstic was convicted of genocide at the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague for his involvement in the killings.

He was sentenced to 46 years in prison.

Krstic claimed he was 50 miles away from Srebrenica at the time of the massacre and was shocked when he found out about it.

His conviction was later reduced on appeal to aiding and abetting genocide and his prison term was reduced to 35 years.

He was transferred to the UK to serve his sentence in 2004.

He was moved to Wakefield Prison from Frankland Prison, in Co Durham, in 2009. He is serving part of his sentence in a British jail because the UK has a treaty obligation to take some prisoners from the War Crimes Tribunal.

The brutal prison attack is bound to raise questions as to why the three men were able to get access to Krstic.

Wakefield Prison is a high-security Category A prison and the authorities would have been aware of his past and possible hostility towards him in the prison population.

The men who attacked Krstic, Indrit Krasniqi, Quan Ogumbiyi and Iliyas Khalid, were Muslims and convicted killers, who were serving their sentences on the same wing as the Bosnian Serb.

On May 7 last year they burst into Krstic’s cell and knocked him to the floor.

Krasniqi slashed his neck from his left ear along his chin, while Khalid used a knife or blade to cut his face. Ogumbiyi held him down as the attack took place.

Later an unusually content Krasniqi told a prison officer: “You have to do what you have to do - we had to do what we had to do.”

Back to the top of the page