Friday, 20 January 2012

Bosnia: Angry Serb reaction to halting of war crimes probe

Bosnian Serbs reacted with anger and disbelief on Wednesday to the decision of Bosnian prosecutors to halt an investigation into war crimes allegedly committed by Muslims in 1992 when according to Serb sources 42 former Yugoslav soldiers were killed and were 73 wounded.

Bosnian prosecutors said on Tuesday they halted an investigation against wartime Muslim member of Bosnian presidency Ejup Ganic, general Jovo Divjak and 12 others for masterminding an attack on a withdrawing Yugoslav Army column in Sarajevo Dobrovoljacka street on 3 May 1992.

The prosecutors said they determined that Ganic and others weren’t responsible for the crime attributed to them, but would continue to investigate other “known persons” suspected of having committed the crime.

Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, president of the Bosnian Serb entity Republika Srpska (RS) who has criticized the Bosnian judiciary for being lenient towards Muslims and prosecuting for war crimes only Serbs, said the prosecutors’ decision was yet further proof of his claims.

“I think that the RS can have absolutely no confidence in the courts and prosecutors of Bosnia-Herzegovina,” Dodik said. “I will continue to fight against that monster which exists for prosecuting and trying only members of one nationality,” Dodik said.

Dodik has on several occasions demanded the abolition of Bosnia’s federal prosecutor’s office and federal court and even threatened with secede RS succession from Bosnia. But he has soft pedaled the issue lately under international pressure.

According to the Dayton Peace Accord that ended 1992-1995 war, Bosnia was divided into two entities with wide autonomy, the RS and a Muslim-Croat federation. But 16 years after the war animosities and mistrust among three ethnic groups Muslims, Serbs and Croats are still high.

The decision steered an uproar of protests by Serb institutions and politicians in Bosnia as well as in Serbia proper. “Bosnia’s prosecution has shown that it has no credibility and is undermining the perspective of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a state,” said RS prime minister Aleksandar Dzombic.

On the other hand, Muslim politicians in Sarajevo hailed the decision and Ganic said the decision came as no surprise because Muslim forces “just defended their country.”


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