Bosnia Seeks Arrest of 47 War Crimes Fugitives

31. January 2020.11:12

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Bosnia and Herzegovina currently has active warrants for the arrests of 47 people who have been charged with war crimes, more than half of whom are now living outside the country, the state court told BIRN.

The Bosnian state court told BIRN that 47 people accused of committing crimes during the 1992-95 war are being sought for arrest, 25 of whom are outside the country.

Twenty-four of those who are wanted have Serbian citizenship, or dual citizenship of Serbia and Bosnia, according to prosecutors.

Five have Croatian citizenship and nine have dual citizenship of Croatia and Bosnia. Another seven are solely Bosnian citizens, while one is a citizen of Montenegro. No citizenship data is available for the final wanted person.

Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor at the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals in The Hague, has repeatedly warned that cross-border cooperation between prosecutors in ex-Yugoslav states to ensure that suspects from the Balkan wars are brought to justice has been deteriorating.

“The unfortunate fact is that the situation is bad, and it has been regressing for a few years – in terms of state prosecution of war criminals and regional cooperation,” Brammertz said in October 2018.

Nine people who have been convicted of war crimes are also wanted for arrest.

Among those being sought by the Bosnian authorities are Darko Mrdja, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for crimes against the Bosniak population of Prijedor, and Dragan Marjanovic, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison for involvement in the killings of civilians near Teslic. Interpol issued international ‘red notices’ calling for the arrest of both men at the end of 2019.

Dragomir Kenuzovic, who was tried in the same case as Marjanovic and sentenced to 14 years, is also the subject of a warrant, as are Elijah Juric and Jozo Djojic, who were sentenced to six years in prison for wartime crimes in Odzak.

In 2013, the prosecutors’ offices of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia signed protocols enabling the exchange of cases, investigations and case documents in war crime cases.

However, the lack of cooperation in some cases has caused controversy.

A Bosnian court sentenced Bosnian Serb wartime general Novak Djukic to 20 years in prison for ordering a massacre in Tuzla in 1995. Djukic left the country for Serbia, which then agreed to take over the case from the Bosnian judiciary.

However, his case has now been at the Belgrade court for more than four years, as hearings have been repeatedly postponed.

Amid the delays, there have been repeated attempts in Serbia to deny the Bosnian court’s findings that the Tuzla massacre was committed by Bosnian Serb forces.

The Bosnian authorities have issued a warrant for the arrest of Djukic.

Others who are wanted include Bosko Lukic, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison for wartime crimes in Kljuc, Miroslav Duko, sentenced to 12 years for crimes in Bileca, and Momir Savic, sentenced to 17 years for crimes in Visegrad.

    Haris Rovčanin

    This post is also available in: Bosnian