Nine Bosnian Serbs arrested over wartime killings, persecution

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Bosnia's police on Wednesday arrested nine Bosnian Serbs suspected of taking part in the killing and persecution of dozens of Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) in an eastern village early in the Bosnian war of the 1990s, the prosecutor's office said.

Reuters September 17, 2020 00:11:14 IST
Nine Bosnian Serbs arrested over wartime killings, persecution

Nine Bosnian Serbs arrested over wartime killings persecution

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Bosnia's police on Wednesday arrested nine Bosnian Serbs suspected of taking part in the killing and persecution of dozens of Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) in an eastern village early in the Bosnian war of the 1990s, the prosecutor's office said.

The nine men, who were all members of the wartime crisis headquarters in the town of Sokolac, were arrested there almost exactly 28 years after they allegedly executed 44 Bosniak men from the nearby village of Novoseoci in 1992, and expelled the women and children to Sarajevo.

The village's mosque was blown up and the debris dumped on the victims' bodies.

Among those killed were boys and a woman. The remains of all but one victim were uncovered after the war.

The prosecutor will question the suspects and decide on further proceedings, his office said.

Bosnian Serb forces, helped by the army of the former Yugoslavia, launched military attacks in 1992 on the territories of Bosnia that they had slated for an exclusively Serb statelet, killing and persecuting non-Serbs in an ethnic cleansing campaign.

More than 100,000 people were killed and about two million moved from their homes during the war, which ended with the U.S.-brokered Dayton peace deal in 1995.

The state prosecutor said two more men were charged over the killings, including Radislav Krstic, a Bosnian Serb general who was jailed over the Srebrenica genocide by the International War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

Nearly 25 years after the war, there are still more than 600 unresolved war crimes cases involving over 4,500 suspects, a report published by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) showed on Wednesday.

The OSCE has urged Bosnian authorities to overhaul how they process war crimes cases and streamline the work of judiciary.

Bosnia has set a deadline of 2023 for the completion of war crimes cases.

(Reporting by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Daria Sito-Sucic and Alexandra Hudson)

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