Bosnia charges 15 ethnic Serbs

2014-12-13 06:30
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP) (HRVOJE POLAN)

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Sarajevo - Bosnian prosecutors on Friday indicted 15 former ethnic Serb police officers and soldiers for killing more than 150 Muslim civilians at the start of the country's inter-ethnic war in the 1990s.

"It is one of the largest indictments for war crimes in the region of Prijedor" in northwestern Bosnia, a prosecutors statement said.

It relates to the killings of more than 150 victims in the village of Zecovi in 1992, it said.

The suspects were charged with "murder, torture, rape and other crimes as well as looting and destruction of property" of the village's Muslims, the statement said.

They were indicted with massacring 29 women and children in July 1995. Investigators have evidence the victims were killed and buried in a mass grave, but their remains have yet to be found.

All the suspects, who include officers, were arrested during the past few weeks.

Hundreds of Zecovi inhabitants were taken to detention camps while the remains of dozens of other villagers were found in mass grave at Tomasica, in the same region.

The grave discovered last year in an abandoned mine is believed the be one the largest mass graves dating from Bosnia's 1992-1995 war. As many as 900 victims - Muslims and Croats killed by Bosnian Serb forces - could be buried there.

Forensic experts have so far exhumed 450 victims from the Tomasica grave.

Bosnian Serbs took control of the Prijedor region at the start of the 1992-1995 war forcing non-Serbs to leave their homes before destroying them.

Families were split up and thousands of people were forced into three detention camps in the region where they were held in squalid conditions, with many tortured and executed.

Photographs of emaciated prisoners at Omarska - reminiscent of the Nazi death camps - broadcast in the summer of 1992 shocked the world and drew international attention to the Serb campaign of so-called "ethnic cleansing".

The former Bosnian Serb political and military chiefs, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, are currently standing trial before a UN tribunal in The Hague. Their charges include their role in the atrocities in the Prijedor region.

Read more on:    serbia  |  croatia  |  bosnia

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