City: Brcko District

4. March 2020.
An appeals court in Belgrade upheld the verdict sentencing Nikola Vida Lujic, a former member of Serbia’s Red Berets special forces unit, to eight years in prison for raping a woman in Brcko in Bosnia in 1992.

Belgrade Appeals Court has confirmed a verdict sentencing Nikola Vida Lujic, a former member of the Special Operations Unit, an elite Serbian special forces unit also known as the Red Berets, to eight years in prison for raping a Bosnian women in Brcko on June 20, 1992.

The court said in an explanation of its ruling that eight years in prison was “necessary but also sufficient to achieve the purpose of punishment”.

It cited the ruling in the original trial, in which the court condemned Vida Lujic’s “particularly offensive and degrading treatment of the victim”.

The verdict also drew attention to “the intensity of the mental injuries and the continuous suffering that [the victim] experienced” and “the psychological traumas for which she is still being treated”.

Vida Lujic, together with two other unidentified fighters, entered a house in Brcko on the day of the assault, wearing a uniform and armed with a gun, the court found.

He pulled out the weapon, loaded it with bullets and put it back in his pocket in front of a women who was in the house.

After she handed over her money and jewellery, Vida Lujic took her into the bathroom and locked the door. He raped her twice in the bathroom and then took her into the bedroom and raped her again.

During the assault, the victim asked Vida Lujic to kill her, to which he replied he was “not in charge of that”, the original indictment said. While he was raping the woman, the two other soldiers broke everything in the house.

The Appeals Court delivered its verdict on January 31, but only published the ruling on its website on Monday.

Handing down the first-instance verdict in September 2019, judge Dejan Terzic said that Vida Lujic had been previously convicted of a similar crime.

“He used his dominance over the victim and her helplessness because she was already scared enough because her husband had been arrested,” Terzic added.

The indictment was originally issued by Brcko District Prosecutor’s Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina in January 2018. But because Vida Lujic is a Serbian citizen, the case was transferred to the Higher Court in Belgrade.


26. February 2020.
Prosecutors in Belgrade charged Osman Osmanovic with committing war crimes against Serb civilians and prisoners of war held at the Rasadnik prison camp in Brcko in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992.

The Serbian War Crimes Prosecution told BIRN that it has charged Osman Osmanovic with committing war crimes against civilians and prisoners of war at the Rasadnik camp in Gornji Rahic in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Brcko area during the summer of 1992.

The indictment was issued on Friday and has yet to be confirmed by a court.

After he was arrested on the Serbia Bosnia border in November, the prosecution said that Osmanovic, “as a member of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO), and later of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with several members of his unit, inflicted bodily injuries, tortured, abused and intimidated civilians and captured members of the Army of Republika Srpska [Bosnian Serb Army]”.

Osmanovic is a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has asked for his extradition. Belgrade Higher Court rejected the extradition request and Osmanovic remains in custody in Serbia.

Osmanovic’s lawyer, Mirsad Crnovrsanin, told BIRN in December that the Serbian War Crimes Prosecution had no basis for conducting an investigation into Osmanovic, as he is a Bosnian citizen and allegedly committed the crime in Bosnia, and that the only witness and victim also lives in Bosnia.

“The crime under investigation in Serbia is the same as the one investigated in Bosnia, so all conditions for referring the case against Osmanovic [to Bosnia] have been met,” Crnovrsanin said.

The Appeal Court in the Brcko District of Bosnia sentenced ex-fighters Galib Hadzic and Nijaz Hodzic to two years and ten months and one year in prison respectively in 2015 for torturing prisoners at the Rasadnik jail camp during wartime. Osmanovic was a witness at the trial.


31. December 2019.

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina has filed an indictment against nine former members of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ABiH, and Croatian Defense Council, HVO, charging them with war crimes against prisoners of war in the Brcko area in 1993.

Admir Osmanovic, Smajil Omerovic, Jasmin Huskanovic, Kemal Hindic, Martin Francesevic, Ramiz Pljakic, Ivo Andjelovic, and Hazim and Bahrija Fazlovic, have been charged with torture, abuse and murder of 11 captured members of the Bosnian Serb Army, VRS, in the vicinity of Boderiste, Brcko.

As announced by the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rizvanovic, Omerovic and Huskanovic, in their capacity as members of the Interventions Unit of the 3rd Battalion with the 108th Motorized Brigade of ABiH, captured 11 members of the First Posavska Brigade of VRS in an ambush near Boderiste, and then tortured and abused them, caused them severe bodily injuries and killed them, acting contrary to provisions of the international humanitarian law and Geneva Conventions relative to treatment of prisoners of war.

“Hindic, Francesevic, Pljakic, Fazlovic, Andjelovic and Fazlovic have been charged, in their capacity as commanders of the Operational Group I – Bosanska Posavina, 108th Infantry Brigade of HVO and 108th Motorized Brigade of ABiH, of having known of the crimes committed by their subordinates and failed to undertake the necessary and reasonable measures to identify, prosecute and punish the perpetrators for the war crime,” the indictment alleges.

The Prosecution will prove its allegations through the examination of around 70 witnesses and expert witnesses, as well as introduction of more than 300 pieces of material evidence.