Bosnia-Herzegovina detains 9 former officers over wartime killings of 44 Bosniak civilians


Authorities in Bosnia on Wednesday arrested nine Bosnian Serb former military officers and troops suspected of killing 44 Bosniak civilians during the 1992-95 war.

So far, 11 people are suspected of killing the Bosniak civilians in September 1992 in the area of Sokolac, in southeastern Bosnia, the Bosnian prosecutor’s office said in a statement. It said the investigation was continuing.

Of the 11 suspects, one is still at large and one is already in prison.

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 bodies of the victims, ages 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 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.