Radislav Krstic was born on 15 February 1948 in Vlasenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina. He pursued a career in the military.
From October 1994 until 12 July 1995, Radislav Krstic was the Chief of Staff/Deputy Commander of the Drina Corps of the Army of the Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina/Republika Srpska (VRS). He was promoted to the rank of General-Major in June 1995 and assumed command of the Drina Corps on 13 July 1995.
The factual allegations refer to the fall of the Srebrenica enclave, in July 1995. The town is located in central Prodrinje, a region of eastern Bosnia, and was of particular interest to Bosnian Muslims, given its predominantly Muslim population. It was equally prized by the Bosnian Serbs, as the region bordered on Serbia and it was essential for the latter to establish territorial continuity.
While there were regular clashes between the Serbs and Muslims in that region, Srebrenica had been declared a “safe area” by the UN Security Council in April 1993, in order to shelter the town’s civilian population from the effects of the war. An agreement calling for the demilitarization of the enclave was signed by both parties and a contingent of the FORPRONU troops was sent on site.
In March 1995, despite the fact that Srebrenica was a designated safe area, Ratko Mladic issued a directive to the Drina Corps, with the aim of creating – through hostile action - “an unbearable situation of total insecurity with no hope of further survival or life for the inhabitants of Zepa and Srebrenica”.
In the spring of 1995, the Serbs blocked all humanitarian aid convoys and destroyed the main infrastructures. The general humanitarian situation was catastrophic.
On 6 July 1995, the first attack was launched on Srebrenica from the southern part of the enclave. Thousands of Bosnian Muslims fled the town.
On 12 July, campaigns of terror were launched by the Serbs. People were insulted, threatened with slaughter unless they left, killings were committed routinely. During the night, many women were taken away and raped. On 12 and 13 July, the women, children and elderly were evacuated by bus, under the supervision of the VRS, in the direction of the territory held by the Muslims.
The VRS soldiers separated the men of military age from the rest of the population and led them to detention centers. The first signs of the arbitrary execution of these men appeared on 13 July.
Thousands of the men who were thus captured – the vast majority of them civilians – were then slaughtered. Most were shot in carefully orchestrated mass executions.
The Trial Chamber held that the Bosnian Serb forces slaughtered between 7,000 and 8,000 men after the fall of Srebrenica.
At the time of the related events, Srebrenica was located in the zone placed under the responsibility of the Drina Corps, one of the corps of the Army of the Republika Srpska. Radislav Krstic was Chief of Staff of the VRS and Commander of the Drina Corps.
In April 1998, he was promoted to the rank of Major General and placed in command of the 5th Corps of the VRS.
General Radislav Krstic was arrested on 2 December 1998 by members of the SFOR and transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) the day after.