For­mer Bos­nian fight­ers to stand trial for war crimes

The National - News - - NEWS WORLD - JAMIE PRENTIS

For­mer Bos­niak fight­ers ac­cused of war crimes against pris­on­ers in the 1990s went on trial in Sara­jevo in a case that has re­vived mem­o­ries of bit­ter eth­nic war­fare in the re­gion.

The five men, who held po­si­tions of vary­ing de­grees of au­thor­ity in the Bos­nian Army, were said to have beaten and bro­ken the bones of Ser­bian pris­on­ers of war be­tween 1992 and 1994. An in­dict­ment says the men caused se­vere phys­i­cal and men­tal harm to their vic­tims on a reg­u­lar ba­sis in de­ten­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

The body of one pris­oner – pre­sumed dead – has never been found. An­other died in de­ten­tion.

Af­ter the EU all but sus­pended the ac­ces­sion process for North Mace­do­nia and Al­ba­nia at a sum­mit last month, the peace set­tle­ment that has stood for 20 years faced new doubts. Re­la­tions be­tween Bos­nian and Serb-run en­claves have de­te­ri­o­rated with the rise of new strains of na­tion­al­ist pol­i­tics.

Pros­e­cu­tion wit­nesses are ex­pected to give ev­i­dence on De­cem­ber 2.

Among those stand­ing trial are Camil Ramic, a for­mer com­man­der in the Viseg­rad Brigade of the Bos­nian Army, and Mehmedal­ija Topalovic, who was a sol­dier. Mr Ramic is ac­cused of fail­ing to pre­vent or pun­ish those be­low him who abused pris­on­ers.

Himzo Se­limovic was an of­fi­cer in the east­ern Bos­nian forces ac­cused of as­sault­ing pris­on­ers un­der in­te­gra­tion and Ramiz Mi­civoda was a lo­cal po­lice chief. They were joined by Mehmed Do­braca, an­other for­mer Bos­nian se­cu­rity of­fi­cial.

About 100 wit­nesses are ex­pected to give ev­i­dence.

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