World News

Serbian court postpones Srebrenica massacre trial until February

BELGRADE (Reuters) - A Serbian court delayed the trial on Tuesday of eight former Bosnian Serb policemen accused of mass killings during the 1995 Srebrenica massacre until February to give prosecutors time to hand over information about protected witnesses.

The eight men were arrested in Serbia last year, the first such case involving suspects alleged to have directly taken part in the 1995 killing of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the then UN-protected enclave of Srebrenica, Europe’s worst atrocity since World War Two.

All defendants had entered not guilty pleas in October.

A spokeswoman for the court said it would inform defence lawyers about the identities of protected witnesses, which had been demanded by the defence, by the end of December, and rescheduled the opening of the trial for early February.

It rejected a motion by defence lawyers to replace the three-judge panel.

The trial at the Belgrade-based War Crimes Court is seen as a key test for Serbia’s willingess to face its wartime past and atrocities committed during the Yugoslav wars of 1990s.

Serbia must punish war criminals to speed up its European Union membership bid.

Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Georgina Prodhan