Court Rules Serb Forces Committed Bosnian Genocide
On 24 May 1997, a 34-year-old Bosnian Serb was sentenced by a German court to five years in jail for taking part in a massacre of Bosnian Muslims during the war in Bosnia.
Novislav Djajic was found guilty on 14 counts of acting as accomplice to murder and attempted murder. It was the first war crimes trial in Germany since the Nuremberg tribunal on Nazi war crimes more than 50 years ago.
Although there was no sufficient evidence that Novislav Djajic had “intent” to commit genocide, Judge Ermin Briessmann recalled that the court established, beyond reasonable doubt, that Serb forces committed genocide in the Bosnian municipality of Foča [pronounciation: FO-CHA] in 1992 (three years before the Srebrenica genocide).
The judge held Djajic responsible for the massacre of Bosnian Muslims. He recalled how Djajic along with other Bosnian Serb troops, had lined up 15 Bosnian Muslim civilians on a bridge over the river Drina near the town of Foca in eastern Bosnia in April 1992 and shot 14 of them in revenge after their colleagues were killed by a mine.
Novislav Djajic filed an appeal arguing he was innocent and challenging the judgement that Serb forces committed the Bosnian genocide. At Djajic’s appeal on 23 May 1997, the Bavarian Appeals Chamber confirmed that the acts of genocide against the Bosnian Muslim population were committed in June 1992 in the administrative district of Foca.