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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Sarajevo court charges former Bosniak leaders with war crimes

Ten people have been indicted for their alleged role in the killing of retreating Yugoslav army soldiers in 1992.

Several former Bosniak political and military leaders have been charged with war crimes for their alleged role in the killing of Yugoslav army soldiers who had retreated at the start of the Bosnian War in the early 1990s.

Sarajevo prosecutors on Wednesday charged 10 people with their involvement in a 1992 attack on a Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) convoy that was being driven by UN peacekeepers to Sarajevo’s Dobrovoljaka Street.

Suspects include a member of Bosnia’s war-time presidency Edup Ganik, two former interior ministers and several retired Bosnian army generals.

Ganick and his co-accused are suspected of “planning, assault and abetting” [others to attack] The undefended convoy “…maintained by UN peacekeeping forces”, as well as having failed to prevent the killings or punish the perpetrators of the attack, prosecutors said.

According to the indictment, eight Yugoslav soldiers, civilian staff and military medical staff were killed and 24 were wounded.

The attack on May 3, 1992, occurred two months after Bosnia and Herzegovina voted for independence from Yugoslavia in a referendum, and a day after the shelling of central Sarajevo by Yugoslav Army artillery and Bosnian Serb forces.

The war in Bosnia resulted in the deaths of approximately 100,000 people, including more than 11,500 in Sarajevo by Serb forces that besieged the capital in April 1992.

In 2012, the same prosecutors suspended the investigation of Ganik and 13 former Bosniak wartime leaders for alleged war crimes. The acting international prosecutor at the time assessed that no war crimes had been committed because the convoy was a “lawful military target”.

State prosecutors said on Wednesday they had conducted a thorough investigation in cooperation with the state investigative and security agency and the internal affairs ministry of Bosnia’s Republika Srpska unit.

Wahid Alik, president of the Green Berets Association – a former Bosniak paramilitary group – told Al Jazeera Balkans in 2017 that the agreement to attack Yugoslav army convoys in 1992 was that the army and commanders return without weapons.

“Unfortunately, it was not honored on May 3rd,” Ellis claimed.

“While passing through East Dobrovoljaka Street, JNA members opened fire on civilians and fighters who were ensuring passage for the convoy,” he said.

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