Bosnia Upholds Serb Ex-Officer’s Conviction for Train Massacre

10. October 2023.13:05
Bosnian Serb Army company commander Boban Indjic’s 15-year-sentence for his involvement in abducting 20 civilians from a train at Strpci station in 1993 and then killing them was upheld on appeal.

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Strpci station. Photo: BIRN.

The appeals chamber of the Bosnian state court has confirmed the verdict sentencing Boban Indjic to 15 years in prison for participating in the abduction of 20 civilians from a train in Strpci during wartime and their subsequent murder in the Visegrad area, his lawyer said.

“Both the prosecution’s appeal [for a higher sentence] and our appeal [for an acquittal or retrial] have been rejected. The first-instance verdict has been confirmed,” Indjic’s lawyer Senad Kreho told BIRN.

As commander of the Interventions Company of the Bosnian Serb Army’s Visegrad Brigade, Indjic was involved in the operation to seize the civilians on February 27, 1993, the verdict established.

Key witnesses said during the trial 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.

Lukic, Indjic,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.

Indjic was initially put on 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.

Dragicevic was later acquitted but the seven other men were convicted and sentenced to a total of 91 years in prison.

In February this year, Belgrade Higher Court convicted three former members of the Avengers paramilitary unit led by Milan Lukic and one former Bosnian Serb Army soldier of involvement in the Strpci abductions.

In 2016, a paramilitary volunteer from Serbia, Mico Jovicic, was also sentenced to five years in prison by the Bosnian state court for the Strpci crime after making a plea bargain. Another paramilitary volunteer, Nebojsa Ranisavljevic, was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a Montenegrin court in 2002.

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.

Emina Dizdarević Tahmiščija

This post is also available in: Bosnian