News

Bosnian Serb Wartime Commander to Stand Trial in Belgrade

6. November 2020.16:30
Rajko Kusic, the former commander of the Bosnian Serb Army’s Rogatica Brigade, is accused of involvement in more than 150 killings as well as forced relocations and unlawful detentions.

This post is also available in: Bosnian (Bosnian)

Belgrade Higher Court. Photo: BIRN.

Rajko Kusic, the former commander of Bosnian Serb Army’s Rogatica Brigade, who is accused of commanding and participating in attacks in which civilians were unlawfully detained, raped and killed, is due to appear at the Higher Court in Belgrade on December 10.

The Bosnian state court indicted Kusic in 2014 but because he lives in Belgrade, his case was handed over to the Serbian judiciary.

“Kusic is accused of commanding and participating in attacks on the civilian population in which victims were murdered, forcibly relocated, unlawfully detained at detention facilities where they were beaten, mistreated, taken to work or to unknown places after which they have since been listed as missing,” the Bosnian prosecution said when the indictment was initially raised.

During the attacks, the prosecution alleged, a large number of imprisoned women and girls were raped and sexually abused.

“The defendant is charged with coordinating the activities of the military and police forces in the Rogatica municipality, from where almost the entire non-Serb population of the municipality – several thousand Bosniaks – were forcibly resettled outside the territory of Republika Srpska,” the prosecution said.

Kusic was also charged with the murders of more than 100 people from the Rogatica area, as well as killings of 50 people at the Paklenik pit near the town of Sokolac.

But Kusic’s lawyer Aleksandar Lazarevic said that it was problematic that the Serbian indictment is different to the original Bosnian one.

“The problem is that [in Serbia] he is accused of a war crime against the civilian population, while in Bosnia he was accused of a crime against humanity. It is not the same,” Lazarevic told BIRN.

He also pointed out that it will be difficult to conduct the case during the coronavirus pandemic because all the witnesses have to come from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

Emina Dizdarević


This post is also available in: Bosnian (Bosnian)