Fourteen Bosnian Muslims indicted for war crimes against Serbs

Charges include murder, torture, robbery and persecution during bitter 1990s conflict

Over 100,000 were killed and up to two million were obliged to flee their homes during the war.  Photograph: AP

Over 100,000 were killed and up to two million were obliged to flee their homes during the war. Photograph: AP

 

Sarajevo prosecutors indicted 14 Bosnian Muslim (Bosniak) wartime army officers and soldiers for alleged murder, torture and persecution of Bosnian Serb civilians during the country’s 1990s war.

The Sarajevo state prosecutor’s office said on Thursday that “14 defendants are accused of war crimes including murder of several dozen Serb civilians, both men and women of different ages, torture, robbery and persecution of nearly the whole Serb population from the Konjic area”.

The office added that 10 of the indicted men were already in detention.

Also indicted were four ex-Serb officers for alleged genocide against Muslims who were fleeing the eastern town of Srebrenica after it fell into Serb hands in July 1995.

Serb forces, commanded by Gen Ratko Mladic, slaughtered more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys from Srebrenica, the worst atrocity in Europe since the second World War. Mladic was jailed for life for the massacre by a UN war crimes tribunal last month.

The four, from the eastern town of Vlasenica, are accused of stopping a convoy carrying Muslims fleeing Srebrenica, separating men from women and robbing them.

“The women were raped and sexually molested, while more than 20 men were taken and detained in a nearby school, where . . . they were kept in inhuman conditions . . . and on July 13-14 taken and executed in the village of Mrsici,” said the prosecutor’s office.

Earlier this month, another four former Bosnian Serb army officers from Vlasenica, including the town’s current mayor, were indicted for murder, torture and persecution of almost the entire Bosniak population in the town.

The conflict

Bosnian Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats alike committed war crimes during the conflict, though the majority of those convicted by local and international courts have been Serbs.

The war began when Bosnian Serb forces, in response to a Muslim-Croat vote for independence from Serbian-led federal Yugoslavia, attacked cities and towns with the objective of carving out an ethnically-pure Serb state.

Bosniaks joined forces with Croats in regions where they were in a majority, such as Konjic – and persecuted Serb inhabitants – but they later fought each other.

More than 100,000 were killed and about two million driven from their homes during the war.

– (Reuters)