Bosnia Issues Flurry of New Year War Crimes Indictments

2. January 2024.17:10
In a series of indictments announced over the New Year period, 15 suspects were charged with various wartime crimes including attacks on villages that left dozens of Bosniaks and Croats dead and executing hundreds of men from Srebrenica.

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Grbavci School in Orakovac. Photo: ICTY

The Bosnian state prosecution announced on Wednesday that it has charged wartime Serb fighters Zivojin Majstorovic, Radenko Dubocanin and Radoslav Savic with committing a crime against humanity for participating in an attack that left 25 civilians dead in the Vlasenica area in June 1992.

The prosecution alleges that Majstorovic, Dubocanin and Savic, armed with automatic weapons, participated in an attack on the village of Durici and surrounding settlements inhabited by Bosniaks. Among the 25 civilians were killed in the attack were women, a minor and an elderly person.

According to the prosecution, the civilians were then robbed, and some of the men were separated from the women and children.

“After that, one group of several civilians was taken into detention at the Susica camp and the police station in Vlasenica, while seven people were taken away in an unknown direction, and since then have disappeared without trace and their bodies have not been found,” the prosecution said in a statement.

Three other war-related indictments were announced by the prosecution over the new year holiday period.

The prosecution said on Tuesday that it has charged six former officers and soldiers from the Bosnian Serb Army’s Zvornik Brigade with assisting a joint criminal enterprise to commit genocide in July 1995, when more than 7,000 Bosniaks from Srebrenica were systematically killed.

The indicted men are Lazar Ristic, Mladen Mihajlovic, Sreten Milosevic, Dragoje Ivanovic, and Stanoje and Milorad Bircakovic.

“The indictment states that the accused participated in capturing and forcibly detaining more than 800 Bosniak men and boys at the Grbavci school in Orahovac, and participated in an operation to transport the detainees to the site of the shooting near the school, where more than 800 victims were shot and their bodies were buried in two mass graves using mechanical diggers,” the prosecution said in a statement.

The prosecution also said on Tuesday that it has charged Nermin Poric, a commander in the Bosnian Army’s military police force, with crimes against prisoners of war in the summer of 1995 in the Bosanska Krupa area.

The indictment claims that Poric personally participated in the shooting of at least 25 members of the Bosnian Serb Army, and that as a commander, he did not take action to prevent subordinate military police officers committing crimes or to punish them.

“Four prisoners were immediately killed, and the remaining detention in the facilities controlled by the Military Police of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, after which the prisoners were killed in three locations, some shot with weapons and others brutally beaten to death,” a prosecution statement said.

In an indictment announced on Saturday, the prosecution said it has charged five Serbs with participating in an attack on the mainly Croat-populated village of Brisevo near Prijedor in July 1992, when 61 people were killed and several victims were raped and sexually abused.

The indictees, Veljko Brajic, Slobodan Taranjac, Ranko Kaurin, Branko Dzenopoljac and Drasko Topic, were Bosnian Serb Army officers and members of the Crisis Staff in Ljubovija or other armed formations.

It is alleged that they planned and participated in the armed artillery and infantry attack on Brisevo and surrounding settlements near Prijedor. The youngest of the 61 victims was a boy of 16, while the oldest was 81.

During the attack, the rape and sexual abuse of several victims was committed, and dozens of people, mostly men, were taken to illegal detention in camps in Prijedor; several victims died while being transported and at least three detainees brought from Briseva were killed at the Omarska camp,” the prosecution said in a statement.

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

Emina Dizdarević Tahmiščija

This post is also available in: Bosnian