7 arrested in Bosnia over wartime killings of civilians

September 16, 2020 - 4:23 am

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Authorities in Bosnia on Wednesday arrested seven Bosnian Serb former military officers and troops suspected in the killing of 44 Bosniak civilians during the 1992-95 war.

In all, nine people are suspected of the September 1992 crime in the area of Sokolac, in southeastern Bosnia, Bosnia’s prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Bosnian Serbs separated men from women in the Bosniak village of Novoseoci before taking the men away to a nearby waste dump where they were killed, the statement said.

The victims, aged 14-82, were left at the dump site and covered in waste. Bosnian Serbs later blew up a local mosque in Novoseoci and threw its parts over the victims' bodies at the dump area.

All but one of the victims' remains have been exhumed from the site, prosecutors said. They had a total 178 wounds inflicted by firearms.

More than 100,000 people died during the war in Bosnia which erupted when the country's Serbs rebelled against independence from the former Yugoslavia and moved to create their own state.

The Serbs took control over two-thirds of Bosnia in the early days of the conflict, expelling and killing non-Serbs — the Bosniaks, who are mostly Muslims, and Bosnia's Croats.

The suspects detained Wednesday were members of the so-called “crisis committee” that was formed when Bosnian Serbs took control of the area in 1992.

Also among the suspects is Gen. Radislav Krstic, who is serving a 35-year-old prison sentence. In 2004, he was convicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on charges of aiding genocide. Bosnia's prosecutors said he will be questioned in prison in Poland.

Another, unidentified suspect lives outside Bosnia and authorities will seek his extradition, the prosecutor's statement said.

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