Three people including a police commander were arrested on suspicion that they detained and mistreated scores of Serb civilians, some of them children, in Gorazde, Rudo and Visegrad in 1992-93.
The Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency on Tuesday arrested Ibro Merkez, Esef Huric and Ahmed Sejdic in Sarajevo and Gorazde on suspicion that as wartime members of the Bosnian police and military, they took part in crimes against Serb civilians.
Gorazde police commander Merkez and police officer Huric are accused of planning, ordering and taking part in the detention of more than 100 Serb civilians, some of them children, in 1992 and 1993.
The civilians were detained in the Gorazde police station and other buildings in the town, according to the Bosnian prosecution.
“Several dozen people were held in one room in inhumane and unhygienic conditions, which caused them great physical and mental harm. As a consequence of the detention and the fact they did not receive any assistance, two people died,” said the prosecution in a statement.
Sjedic, the former commander of the Bosnian Army’s First Visegrad Brigade, is accused of taking part in the forcible transfer, detention and infliction of pain on Serb civilians and captured members of the Bosnian Serb army.
According to the prosecution, Sejdic committed the crimes between July 1992 and February 1993 and several people died as a consequence.
Sejdic is suspected of not stopping or punishing his subordinates who inhumanely treated Serb civilians and prisoners of war and stole their property.
All three suspects were handed over to the Bosnian prosecution which will question them and decide whether to file a custody motion.
According to the Serbian war crimes prosecution office, the arrest came as a result of cooperation between the Serbian and Bosnian prosecutions.
The Serbian office provided significant evidence and witness statements, it said.
“As a result of these crimes, Serb civilians were permanently resettled from the areas of Gorazde, Visegrad and Rudo,” the Serbian prosecution said on Tuesday.
The prosecutor’s offices in both countries signed a protocol on cooperation in finding the perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in February 2013 – a move intended to stop suspects hiding behind state borders in the absence of an extradition treaty between the two countries.
Since then, the two offices have exchanged 53 documents, witness statements and other pieces of evidence.
Source: Balkan Insight