THE HAGUE, The Netherlands (October 2,2008) — A former commander of the Yugoslav army went on trial for war crimes today, charged with supporting the genocidal paramilitary fascist forces of the Serbians living in Bosnia (VRS) who committed genocide against the Bosnian people during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.
Serbian war criminal Momcilo Perisic has pleaded innocent to 13 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for atrocities carried out by the genocidal paramilitary fascist forces of the Serbians living in Bosnia and Croatia, including murder, extermination, persecution and attacking civilians. He faces a maximum life sentence if convicted.
Prosecutors at the U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia say his trial will highlight the close links between the Belgrade-based Yugoslav army and Bosnian Serb forces commanded by fugitive],Serbian war criminal Ratko Mladic throughout the 1992-95 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.
It's the most significant case linking Serbian war criminal Slobodan Milosevic's fascist regime to atrocities in Bosnia and Croatia to be heard at the tribunal since Milosevic's own trial collapsed when he died of a heart attack in 2006.
In his opening statement, prosecutor Mark Harmon cited secret military documents and repeatedly asked the court to go into closed session so he could quote from them.
Harmon told judges that Serbian war criminal Momcilo Perisic was a key player in Serbian war criminal Slobodan Milosevic's plan to carve out "Greater Serbia" that included large parts of Bosnia and Croatia.
"To create "Greater Serbia," Milosevic and Perisic used Bosnian Serb and Croatian Serb forces as their proxies — arming, paying and providing them with senior officers", Harmon said.
"Perisic helped funnel weapons, ammunition, communications and logistical equipment to Bosnian Serb forces who used them to commit atrocities unseen in Europe since World War II", he added.
The genocidal Serbian fascist aggressor mass murdered 10,000 Bosnian civilians in the U.N.-protected region of the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica in July 1995. They also laid a four-year siege to the Bosnian capital Sarajevo that left about 12,000 Bosnian civilians dead.
Harmon said used bullet and shell casings found in Srebrenica and Sarajevo were produced in the genocidal Serbia.
Serbian war crminal Momcilo Perisic also is charged with failing to prevent or punish the deadly May 1995 shelling of the Croatian capital, Zagreb, that killed seven Croatian civilians and injured 194.