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Strpci railway station. Photo: Wikimedia
The Bosnian state court on Thursday found Boban Indjic guilty, as commander of the Interventions Company of the Bosnian Serb Army’s Visegrad Brigade, of participating in the abductions and subsequent murders of 20 civilians who were seized from a train at Strpci station in Bosnia on February 27, 1993.
“When we analyse all the pieces of evidence, they lead to only one possible conclusion – that Boban Indjic was present at all the key locations, together with others,” said presiding judge Vesna Jesenkovic.
Key witnesses said that an armed group, including Indjic and Bosnian Serb paramilitary chief Milan Lukic, went from the Visegrad Brigade’s command post to Strpci, and that a train despatcher was ordered to halt the train that was travelling from Belgrade to Bar in Montenegro via Strpci.
Indjic, Lukic and others checked the passengers’ identity documents, took 20 of them off the train and drove them by military truck to a school building in the village of Prelovo, near Visegrad, the court found.
At the school gym, they were beaten and stripped to their underwear, and then transported to a burned-out house in the village of Mrsici, where Lukic shot dead 18 of them while Indjic stood beside him, according to the verdict.
Other fighters killed the two remaining civilians who tried to flee. The bodies of the victims were thrown into the River Drina the following day.
Judge Jesenkovic said that four witnesses confirmed the presence of the accused at the the Visegrad Brigade’s command post, the station in Strpci, the school in Prelovo and the execution location in Mrsici.
“He was aware that the civilians, the identification of whom he personally participated in, were taken off the train for no reason … He there with Lukic, who killed the civilians,” she said.
The verdict said that 18 of the victims were Bosniaks, one was Croat and the identity of the other, who was of Arabic origin, has not been determined.
She added that body parts of four of the victims were found during an exhumation at Lake Perucac. Families of the injured parties were referred to civil proceeding.
Indjic stood trial together with Luka Dragicevic and seven other former members of the Visegrad Brigade, but the proceedings against him were separated from the others in 2021, because he was convicted in Serbia of causing a car accident. Once he had served his sentence, his trial resumed.
Under a first-instance verdict in October last year, seven defendants were sentenced to 13 years in prison each, while Dragicevic was acquitted.
The Hague Tribunal sentenced Milan Lukic to life imprisonment for other crimes in Visegrad, but not the Strpci killings. In 2020 he was indicted for the Strpci crimes by the Bosnian state court.
The verdict in the trial of four other Bosnian Serb ex-fighters in a court in the Serbian capital will be delivered on February 7.
Thursday’s first-instance verdict can be appealed.