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Prosecutor files request to resume landmark Srebrenica trial

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia's new chief war crimes prosecutor has filed a request to resume the landmark trial of eight former Bosnian Serb police officers charged with taking part in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

The proceedings were halted after an appeals court ruled this month that the charges were invalid because they were filed when Serbia did not have a chief war crimes prosecutor. The trial marked the first time that a Serbian court had dealt with the killings by Bosnian Serb troops of around 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, Europe's worst single atrocity since World War II.

Serbia's human rights groups had criticized the ruling, warning of state obstruction of war crimes trials in the Balkan country seeking to become a member of the European Union. The request to resume the trial was filed last week by the chief war crimes prosecutor, Snezana Stanojkovic, her office said.

The eight former officers were charged with participating in the killing of 1,313 people in a warehouse in Kravica, a village outside Srebrenica. They were crammed into a warehouse in the village and then killed with grenades and machine guns as they tried to escape the Serb onslaught.

Special police unit commander Nedeljko Milidragovic, also known as "Nedjo the Butcher," was the defendant accused of organizing the killings. An indictment alleged that Milidragovic fired his pistol at those who still showed signs of life after the night-long rampage.

Serbia actively supported and armed Bosnian Serbs during the 1992-95 war that left over 100,000 people dead and forced millions from their homes.

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