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    Gravestones are seen at sunrise at a memorial complex near Srebrenica, 150 kilometers (94 miles) northeast of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Saturday, July 11, 2015

    Defender of Srebrenica? Ex-Bosnian Warlord Oric Acquitted of War Crimes…Again

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    In July 1995, about 8,000 Muslim men and boys were massacred by Serb forces during the 1992-95 Bosnian War. Twenty years later, Russia vetoed a draft resolution in the UN Security Council that would have condemned the 1995 Srebrenica events as an act of genocide.

    Former Bosnian military commander Naser Oric has been acquitted by a local court of war crimes during the 1992-95 Balkan conflict.

    "Naser Oric and [his fellow fighter] Sabahudin Muhic are acquitted of charges of having committed during the war […] crimes against prisoners," judge Tihomir Lukes was quoted by AFP as saying.

    Oric was charged with killing three Serb prisoners of war in villages around Srebrenica in the early days of the Bosnian War conflict.  However, a panel of judges finally ruled that prosecutors had failed to present evidence proving the accusations against the 51-year-old.

    READ MORE: Bosnian War Criminal May Have Been Poisoned in UN Prison — Serbian Party Leader

    The acquittal is the second such event during the trial against Oric which opened in January 2016. Oric was also acquitted by a UN war crimes tribunal in a separate case, in 2008.

    Many Muslim Bosnians praise Olic as the "defender of Srebrenica" where about 8,000 Muslims men and boys were killed after the town was occupied by units of the army of Republika Srpska under the command of General Ratko Mladic.

    In November 2017, Mladic, the former leader of Bosnian Serbs, was sentenced to life in prison after a UN war crimes tribunal found him guilty of involvement in the Srebrenica massacre and committing crimes against humanity.

    READ MORE: Former Bosnian Interior Minister, Ex-Police Chief Indicted for War Crimes

    In July 2015, Russia vetoed a draft resolution in the UN Security Council submitted by the UK that would condemn the 1995 Srebrenica events as a crime of genocide.

    Then-Russian envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin argued that the adoption of the resolution with such a classification of the events would have aggravated the situation in the region,  as there is no consensus on this classification either in the area, or in Bosnia and Herzegovina itself.

    Media reports said that judges of the Hague-based UN tribunal, which was established following the 1990s conflict in former Yugoslavia, mainly convicted Serbs in high-profile cases related to the Bosnian War. A total of 52 Serbs were convicted, as compared to 17 Croats and six Bosnian Muslims.

    Related:

    Former Republika Srpska Leader Awaits Acquittal on Bosnian War Charges
    Former Bosnian Interior Minister, Ex-Police Chief Indicted for War Crimes
    The Bosnian War: What Lessons Has the World Learned?
    Tags:
    judges, prisoners-of-war, trial, war crimes, court, Naser Oric, Bosnia and Herzegovina
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