Bosnian Court Orders Arrest Warrant Over Killings near Gorazde

8. July 2022.09:58
Bosnia's State Court has ordered an international arrest warrant for Brane Petkovic, now in Serbia, for the killings of several Bosniak civilians in a village near Gorazde in May 1992.

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View of the the village of Lozje. Photo: BIRN

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has ordered the issue of an international arrest warrant for Brane Petkovic over the killings of several Bosniak civilians near Gorazde in May 1992.

It comes after Petkovic, who is now in Serbia, was due to enter his plea on June 16, but failed to appear in court. The State Court said that he had also failed to attend an earlier hearing on March 10 this year.

“The court has brought a decision ordering custody for the defendant, which, according to the said decision, may last up to three years from the date and hour of his deprivation of liberty,” the court said.

It said that the Justice Ministry sought international legal assistance from competent bodies in the neighbouring country.

The indictment, confirmed in November 2020, said tht Petkovic – as superior officer to the commander of the District Headquarters of the Territorial Defense, TO, of Gorazde Serb Municipality, and commanders and members of the TO Municipal Headquarters’ Company – failed to prevent his subordinates from committing crimes or punish crime perpetrators – although he knew or could have known that his subordinates were either getting ready to commit or had committed crimes.

“Within an armed infantry attack against the Bosniak civilian population of Lozje-Kokino Selo in the municipality of Gorazde, many of whom were women and children, on May 22, 1992 at least 16 Bosniaks were killed,” the prosecution said previously.

During that attack, it said, seven Bosniak men were captured and taken in unknown direction and killed. Their remains were discovered in a mass grave in the village of Siseta, in Gorazde municipality, on March 17, 1993.

In a report to the State Prosecution, British judge Joanna Korner wrote that the potential benefit of indicting unavailable persons is often “outweighed by the costs in time and resources”.

Despite that, such practices have been followed by other prosecutors’ offices in Bosnia and Herzegovina either, as BIRN reported before.

The trial of Branislav Lasica, former commander of Podkamen TO Company, and Miroslav Milovic, former commander of the District TO Headquarters of Gorazde Serb Municipality, who have been accused of crimes committed in Lozje in May 1992, started recently before the Bosnian State Court.

Haris Rovčanin

This post is also available in: Bosnian