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Can a Criminal State Deal With War Criminals?

By Gilad Atzmon

Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, January 25, 2011

Haaretz reported today that Israeli citizen Aleksander Cvetkovic, 42, is suspected of participating in the murder of at least 1,000 Bosnian Muslims at the Branjevo farm near the city of Zvornik.

Cvetkovic, 42, was arrested at the request of the Bosnia-Herzegovina government. He is suspected of participating in the murder of between 1,000 and 1,200 Bosnian Muslims at the Branjevo farm near the city of Zvornik. This was one of a series of mass murders over a 10-day period of the Bosnian War that are collectively known as the Srebrenica Massacre. In 2006, Cvetkovic immigrated to Israel with his Jewish wife and received citizenship.

Cvetkovic’s defense lawyer Vadim Shub said yesterday that Israel has never extradited citizens on charges of genocide, "and we do not think this is a proper place to begin.”

Shub obviously plucked the right string. He knows that the Israeli society is riddled with war criminals and mass murderers.  Shimon Peres, Tzipi Livini, Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak amongst many others, have far more blood on their hands than  suspect Cvetkovic. 

In remarks to Israel's Army Radio, Shub insightfully suggested that extraditing Cvetkovic could set a precedent for the prosecution abroad, of numerous Israeli officials and military personnel.

The extradition request exposes a shockingly detailed description of some devastating murderous enthusiasm:

On July 16, 1995, the unit's commander summoned eight soldiers, including Cvetkovic, and ordered them to the city of Pilica, where they were to take part in the execution of Bosnian Muslim prisoners held in a local school. Cvetkovic and the other soldiers were then taken to the Branjevo farm, where they waited for the prisoners to arrive.

The prisoners were brought to the farm on buses, some of them handcuffed and blindfolded. They were then taken off the buses in groups of ten and led a short distance away, where the soldiers lined them up and shot them with automatic weapons, including both machine guns and pistols.

After each initial barrage, the soldiers would walk among the victims, locate wounded survivors and finish them off. The Bosnian request asserts that at one point, Cvetkovic offered to use an M-84 machine gun to accelerate the killing. According to estimates by soldiers who took part in the killing, and by a few people who survived by pretending to be dead, the massacre went on for 10 hours.

It would be very interesting to examine the integrity of the so-called Israeli and Jewish Nazi-hunters behind the notorious ‘Operation Last Chance’ Cvetkovic’s case may verify whether Israelis oppose genocide in general, or just crimes against Jews.  

Gilad Atzmon: Can A Criminal State Deal With War Criminals?




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