News

Criminal complaint against Svetozar Andrić

17.04.2018

On March 2 2018, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) submitted a criminal complaint against Svetozar Andrić, former commander of the Birač Brigade of the Republika Srpska Army (VRS), and later Chief of Staff of the VRS Drina Corps, to the War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Serbia. The criminal complaint was filed for several crimes committed during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

On May 28, 1992, Svetozar Andrić ordered the “eviction” of the Bosniak population from Zvornik, as the then commander of the VRS Birač Brigade, in whose area of responsibility were the municipalities of Vlasenica and Zvornik, among others. This resulted in the departure of more than 10,000 Bosniaks to Mali Zvornik, Kalesija, and the villages of Snagovo and Kula Grad.

A few days later, on May 31, 1992, Andrić issued an order to establish the Sušica Camp in Vlasenica (BiH). The camp existed until September 30, 1992, and during that period, the detainees were kept in inhumane conditions – they slept on concrete, received one meal a day, and did not enjoy the basic hygienic conditions. Most were beaten daily, while the women who were detained in the camp were raped. Around 160 detainees were killed.

Also, in May and June 1992, the brigade commanded by Svetozar Andrić persecuted Bosniaks from more than 20 villages in the Vlasenica municipality. In March of the following year, members of the brigade of which Andrić was commander burned the village of Gobelje in the municipality of Vlasenica.

On July 14, 1995, Svetozar Andrić was appointed Chief of Staff of the VRS Drina Corps by the decision of the President of Republika Srpska Radovan Karadžić, while the mass executions of Srebrenica Bosniaks were still going on.

On several occasions, Andrić testified before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), where he tried to minimize his responsibility for those crimes. Thus, for the Sušica Camp, he claimed that he had not founded it, but that he was its “organizer”; that he did not order the “eviction” of Bosniaks from Zvornik, but that they themselves wanted to leave; that he did not order the burning of the village of Gobelje, but that the “burning” referred to a place called Paljevina (pronounced similarly to “burning” in Serbian), where the members of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina were located; and that he took over the duties of the Chief of Staff of the Drina Corps only on August 8, 1995.

Because of all that he stated, the ICTY Trial Chamber in the Karadžić Case concluded concerning Svetozar Andrić that, “during his testimony it was in his interest to minimize his personal participation in the events in Zvornik, and that his testimony in this respect was characterized by contradictions, evasiveness and indications of dishonesty”.

In 2006, the HLC sent a letter to the then War Crimes Prosecutor, Vladimir Vukčević, demanding that he open an investigation into Svetozar Andrić for crimes committed in the Sušica Camp, Zvornik and Srebrenica. To date, there is no information as to whether the OWCP conducted an investigation against Svetozar Andrić for these crimes.

Today, Svetozar Andric is Deputy President of the Municipality of Novi Beograd, and Member of the Presidency of the Serbian People’s Party.