A Bosnian Muslim wartime commander who defended Srebrenica against separatist Serbian forces has been indicted for alleged war crimes. He is accused of murdering ethnic Serbs during Bosnia's 1992-1995 conflict.
Bosnia's state prosecutor's office announced Thursday it had indicted Naser Oric over the alleged killing of three Serb prisoners of war.
Oric led Bosnian Muslim forces in the country's eastern Srebrenica region during the Bosnian war between 1992 and 1995.
Srebrenica, a designated United Nations "safe haven," fell to Bosnian Serbs on July 11, 1995. More than 8,000 mainly Muslim men and boys were slaughtered there in the days that followed, in what has been described as Europe's worst mass killing since the Second World War. Oric managed to escape.
In 2006, he was found guilty by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia of failing to prevent the deaths and mistreatment of Serbian prisoners, but was later acquitted on appeal due to insufficient evidence.
Serbia issued a warrant for Oric's arrest last year over the same alleged killings and mistreatment. Swiss police acting on that warrant detained the 48-year-old in Geneva on June 10. The arrest sparked an outcry from Bosnian Muslims, many of whom see Oric as a military hero. He was later extradited to Bosnia. A request to extradite Oric to Serbia instead was refused.
In a statement on Thursday, Bosnia's state prosecutor's office said Oric's henchman, Sabahudin Muhic, had also been indicted over the alleged war crimes. It added that it would send an arrest warrant to Switzerland for Elfeta Veseli, a woman accused in the same case of killing a Serb child during the war.
nm/lw (Reuters, AFP)