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1 December 2015
News

Indictment Filed for Mass War Crimes in Kotor-Varos

Džana Brkanić BIRN BiH Sarajevo

The state prosecution has filed an indictment against six former members of the Bosnian Serb Army suspected of crimes against humanity committed against Bosniak and Croat civilians in the vicinity of Kotor-Varos.

Slobodan Zupljanin, Bosko Peulic, Aleksandar Petrovic, Manojlo Tepic, Janko Trivic and Nedeljko Djekanovic, all former senior officials with the Bosnian Serb Army, have been charged with persecuting and murdering several hundred civilians in the Kotor-Varos area from June 1992 to mid-1994.

According to the indictment, the defendants are responsible for the persecution of approximately 20,000 Bosniaks and Croats, including children and women, on the basis of their ethnicity and religion. These crimes were committed as part of a joint criminal enterprise that included acts of murder, deportations and the forcible resettlement of the civilian population.

Victims were unlawfully detained and taken to various locations and detention facilities, where they were tortured and abused. Mass shootings of civilians took place on several occasions, killing approximately 300. The state prosecution said the defendants are also responsible for numerous rapes.

According to the charges, the defendants are also responsible for the forced labour of detainees, pillaging the property of civilians in the area and destroying cultural sites, religious buildings, historical monuments and institutions that offered religious services.

According to the state prosecution, Bosko Peulic was the commander of the Third Tactical Group of the Bosnian Serb Army, Slobodan Zupljanin was the commander of the Second Battalion of the Bosnian Serb Army and Aleksandar Petrovic was the commander of the First Company of the Second Battalion of the Bosnian Serb Army.

Manojlo Tepic was initially the commander of the Territorial Defense in Kotor-Varos and the commander of the Town Defense. According to the indictment, Tepic then became the chief of the Light Kotor-Varos Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army and a member of the Crisis Committee and, later on, a member of the wartime presidency. Janko Trivic was a Bosnian Serb Army commander. Nedeljko Djekanovic was the head of the municipality of Kotor-Varos and the president of the Crisis Committee.

The investigation of this case was initiated by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which then forwarded the case to the Bosnian state prosecution for further processing.

The indictment was filed with the Bosnian state court for confirmation. The prosecution said it intended to demonstrate the charges in the indictment by examining approximately 230 witnesses.

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