Eleven Bosnian Serbs Charged with Crimes Against Humanity

28. December 2023.12:25
The 11 suspects were charged with committing crimes against humanity in 1992 for their involvement in the unlawful detention and inhumane treatment of around 700 Bosniak men and boys, some of whom were killed.

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Zvornik. Photo: BIRN BiH

The Bosnian state prosecution on Thursday charged Vidoje Blagojevic, Ivan Arapovic, Milan Arapovic, Kosta Pejic, Bozo Radic, Mile Savic, Mile Blagojevic, Ljubisa Pejic, Stevo Vasiljevic, Branko Pejic and Verica Radovic with committing crimes against humanity from late May to early June 1992 during the Bosnian war.

The indictment claims that Ivan Arapovic, Milan Arapovic, Kosta Pejic, Branko Pejic, Ljubisa Pejic, Radic, Savic, Mile Blagojevic and Vasiljevic participated in the unlawful detention and inhumane treatment of around 700 Bosniak men and boys as guards at the Technical School in the town of Karakaj.

The Bosniak civilians, aged between 15 and 70, were taken to the Technical School after being separated from women, children and elderly people in the village of Bijeli Potok, the prosecution said in a statement.

“According to the charges, the accused beat the detained civilians on two occasions, forcing them to walk between two lines of people, after which these defendants then held them in inhumane conditions, while the civilians were beaten up and abused in various ways, which caused severe suffering and serious physical and mental injuries to the victims,” the prosecution said.

According to the charges, around 20 civilians died because of the inhumane conditions, while the guards did not prevent the killing of prisoners by known and unknown soldiers within the premises they were guarding.

The guards also did not prevent detained civilians from being taken away from the detention site, after which many of them disappeared without trace.

All of the accused except Verica Radovic and Vidoje Blagojevic were members of the Karakaj Company of the Territorial Defence force in Zvornik, and later the Zvornik Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army.

Vidoje Blagojevic was charged as commander of the Zvornik Brigade. The indictment claims he failed to undertake necessary and reasonable measures as a superior officer to prevent the unlawful detention, inhumane treatment, forcible disappearances and murders of the detained Bosniak civilians, or to punish the perpetrators.

Blagojevic was previously sentenced by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to 18 years in prison for crimes committed during the Srebrenica genocide in July 1995. He was released in 2015.

Verica Radovic was charged with shooting two prisoners dead at close range out of personal revenge.

In a separate case, the state prosecution on Wednesday also charged four Bosnian Serb military and police officers with crimes against humanity in the Zvornik area in late May and early June 1992.

The indictees, Dragan Spasojevic, Vinka Radovic, Dragomir Vasic and Petko Panic, were police and military officers in Zvornik at the time, the indictment said.

They are accused of participating in the forced relocation and imprisonment of several thousand Bosniak civilians from villages near Zvornik including Djulici, Klisa and others.

“During the persecution of the population, the murders of several Bosniak civilians were committed,” the state prosecution said.

Both indictments have been sent to the state court for confirmation.

Emina Dizdarević Tahmiščija

This post is also available in: Bosnian