Former commander of the VRS Zvornik Brigade surrendered voluntarily. He was indicted in November 1998 for crimes committed after the fall of Srebrenica. Radislav Krstic and Vidoje Blagojevic, who were part of the same indictment, have in the meantime been found guilty of genocide and sentenced to 35 and 18 years in prison respectively.

Vinko PandurevicVinko Pandurevic

Former commander of the VRS Zvornik brigade, Vinko Pandurevic - charged with crimes committed in Srebrenica in July 1995 - was transferred today to the UN Detention Unit in Scheveningen – the Tribunal announced today. The initial appearance of the accused will be scheduled in the coming days.

The indictment against three VRS commanders who participated in Operation Krivaja 95, the code name for the attack on the Srebrenica enclave, was issued and placed under seal in November 1998. The indictment was unsealed gradually, as the accused arrived in The Hague one by one. The first part to be unsealed was the part referring to General Radislav Krstic, former commander of the VRS Drina Corps, arrested in an SFOR operation in August 1998. Then in August 2001, the seal was removed from the part referring to Colonel Vidoje Blagojevic, former commander of the VRS Bratunac Brigade. He was also sent to The Hague by SFOR. In December 2001, when the OTP determined that the third accused had found shelter in Serbia, out of SFOR’s reach, the charges against Colonel Vinko Pandurevic were made public. He commanded the Zvornik brigade at the time when the VRS mounted the operation in Srebrenica.

Most of the sites where more than 7,000 Muslim men were executed in July 1995 were in the area of responsibility, in military parlance, of the VRS Zvornik Brigade. The men were captured after the fall of the UN-protected enclave. During General Krstic’s trial, a lot was said about the role troops of that brigade played in the mass executions of the prisoners in Orahovac, the Branjevo farm, Kozluk and other execution sites of Srebrenica.

The bodies of those who were executed were buried first at the execution sites, in mass graves dug by the engineer company of the Zvornik Brigade, according to the indictment. When the first aerial photographs of the Srebrenica graves were shown to the UN Security Council in August 1995, the VRS started systematically removing the evidence of the crime, the indictment alleges. Mass graves were dug up and the remains of the victims were moved to other, inaccessible locations. OTP investigators located and exhumed many “secondary graves” in the meantime. During a search in the Zvornik Brigade headquarters, proper records were found of the use of heavy earth-moving machinery and quantities of diesel fuel used in the secret operation.

In addition to the charges of genocide or complicity in genocide, Pandurevic is charged in six other counts of the indictment with extermination, murder, persecution on political, racial or religious grounds, deportation, forcible removal and inhumane treatment, just like Krstic and Blagojevic. General Krstic has in the meantime been sentenced to 35 years in prison and is serving his sentence in Great Britain, while Colonel Blagojevic is awaiting the judgment following an appeal against the sentence to 18 years in prison.

Pandurevic’s deputy, the chief of staff of the Zvornik Brigade, Dragan Obrenovic, was indicted in a separate indictment. He pleaded guilty, accepted his part of the responsibility and was sentenced to 17 years in prison.