Jezik / Language:
17 July 2006

Mandic indictment confirmed

The war crimes chamber has confirmed an indictment against a senior official of the wartime Bosnian Serb government.
On Monday, the Bosnian court confirmed the indictment against Momcilo Mandic, a wartime Bosnian Serb government official.

During the war, Mandic held the post of assistant minister of interior and subsequently served as the justice minister of Republika Srpska. He has been charged with crimes against civilians.

In the four counts of the indictment, Mandic is accused of "planning, initiating, ordering, committing, and inciting" the inhumane treatment of civilians.

The prosecution claims that on 6 April 1992 Mandic, "assisted by the army and paramilitaries," led an attack on the Bosnian interior ministry's training centre in the Sarajevo suburb of Vraca.

The indictment goes on to claim that when the centre had been captured, Mandic physically assaulted one of the cadets and attempted to kill him, but was prevented from doing so by other members of the police. After the attack, all Bosniaks and Croats were taken to the Vraca local community building, where they were interrogated. Some of them were transported to Pale, where they were severely beaten and were held captive until 10 April 1992.

In his capacity as justice minister from May until the end of December of 1992, Mandic, "as a superior and a person with authority," is also charged with "failing to prevent the acts and punishments" committed by his subordinates in the Butmir Correctional Centre in Ilidza, near Sarajevo, and in the Foca Correctional Centre.

In the opinion of the prosecution, Mandic, "by virtue of his office," was responsible for the operations of all correctional institutions in the former Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The prosecutor also claims that the accused was "directly in charge and responsible" for supervising the administrative staff of these institutions, which, as is stated in the indictment, "had all traits of a camp."

The indictment says that inmates were held in "inhumane conditions, deprived of fulfilling basic hygienic needs, exposed to starvation... and denied access to medical assistance".

It also alleges that inmates were severely beaten and mistreated and compelled to do forced labour, which resulted in the deaths and disappearance of many. Inmates of the Foca Correctional Centre were forced to work in the Miljevina mine and in the furniture factory in the compound.

Mandic will enter his plea on the counts in the indictment within 15 days.

The indictee has been in detention since the middle of August last year, when he was arrested on suspicion of involvement in organised crime. This indictment was confirmed on 7 February and the trial is still in progress.
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