An Israeli citizen was arrested Tuesday in connection with a 1995 massacre in Bosnia, and Israel’s Justice Ministry launched extradition proceedings against him.
A Sarajevo court issued a warrant for Alexandar Cvetkovic's arrest in April, stating that he was wanted for genocide and crimes against humanity. In August, Bosnia-Herzegovina filed a formal request to Israel for his extradition to stand trial at a war-crimes tribunal.
The extradition request was supported by extensive documentation of Cvetkovic's alleged involvement in the Srebrenica massacres, including a deposition of the chief prosecutor of the war-crimes tribunal in Sarajevo, a photo of Cvetkovic's military ID, survivors' testimony and affidavits of soldiers of the unit he served in, and the suspect's own testimony at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, or ICTY.
According to the documents, Cvetkovic was a soldier in the 10th Sabotage Unit belonging to the Vojska Republike Srpske, the Bosnian Serb Army that seized control of the Srebrenica enclave in 1995. The unit of trained commandos and snipers participated in the "systematic, wide and planned campaign against the Bosnian-Muslim population with the intent of exterminating them," the Israeli Justice Ministry says in a petition to declare the man extraditable.
The material provided by authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina to the ministry's reveal the "chilling facts" of the massacre of Muslim civilians at the Branjevo Farm on July 16, 1995, the petition says.
For 10 hours that day, busloads of civilians -- many blindfolded and bound -- were driven to the farm. The people were removed from the bus, lined up around 10 at a time, and shot from behind by a firing squad of eight. Some witnesses testified that approximately 700 people had been killed that day. But Bosnian authorities, relying on United Nations experts and mass graves discovered around the farm, believe the number of victims was 1,000 to 1,200.
Cvetkovic allegedly was a member of that firing squad and actively participated in the Branjevo massacre, one of several in which about 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were murdered in the bloodiest atrocities on European soil since World War II.