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Bosnia indicts five over wartime torture of Serbs

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Fri, 2 Mar 2012 17:30 GMT
Author: Reuters
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SARAJEVO, March 2 (Reuters) - Bosnia's war crimes prosecutors on Friday indicted five former members of a Croat paramilitary force for the torture of hundreds of Bosnian Serbs, most of them civilians, in the south of the country during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

Ivan Zelenika, Srecko Herceg, Edib Buljubasic, Ivan Medic and Marina Grubisic-Fejzic, who served as Croatian Defence Forces (HOS) commanders or guards in the Dretelj detention camp, are accused of committing war crimes against Serb detainees from May to August 1992, the prosecution said in a statement.

"The civilians detained in the Dretelj camp were kept in inhuman conditions, abused, robbed of their belongings, beaten, raped and sexually abused, subjected to forced labour and tortured in the most humiliating ways," the prosecution said.

The state court must now confirm the indictment.

Bosnia's war broke out in April 1992 after the break-up of Yugoslavia. Bosnian Muslims and Croats joined forces against Serbs who, backed by the former Yugoslav army, launched a widespread attack across the country in a bid to carve out a Serb state.

The Muslim-Croat alliance was especially strong early in the war in the southern Herzegovina region, where the HOS set up a detention camp for Serbs.

The several hundred detainees were mainly civilians from Mostar, Ljubuski, Capljina and Stolac. Some of their remains were identified in mass graves after the war, the prosecution statement said. Some have never been found.

Bosnian Muslims and Croats split in 1993 and fought their own war, which ended in 1994.

Present-day Bosnia is made up of two autonomous regions, the Muslim-Croat federation and the Serb Republic.

(Reporting By Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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