[JURIST] The Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) [official website] on Thursday indicted [press release] former Serb policeman Srpko Pustivuk for allegedly committing crimes against civilians during the Bosnian civil war [JURIST news archive]. Pustivuk was arrested [press release] on July 13 in Bijeljina and has been held in custody since. According to a statement by the Prosecutor’s Office, Pustivuk is accused of taking part in a May and June 1992 “attack on civilians which resulted in the death and severe bodily injuries to civilians, some of whom were minors,” as a member of the Bosnian Serb special police unit. Pustivuk is charged with the criminal offense of War Crimes against Civilians in violation of Article 173(1) in conjunction with Articles 180(1), and 29 of the Criminal Code of BiH [text, PDF]. Pustivuk is also charged with the unlawful detention, deprivation of liberty of civilians, and violating the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts provisions of the Geneva Convention [texts]. The indictment has been submitted to the Court of BiH [official website].
The BiH war crimes court was set up in 2005 to relieve the caseload of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] and is authorized to try lower-level war crime suspects. The court delivered its first sentences [JURIST report] against war crimes suspects from Yugoslavia’s violent ethnic conflicts of the 1990s in July 2008, convicting seven of genocide for their involvement in killings committed at the Srebrenica [JURIST news archive] prison camp. The ICTY retains jurisdiction over high-level war crimes, such as those against Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic [ICTY materials; JURIST news archive] and General Ratko Mladic [ICTY materials, JURIST news archive], who are charged with genocide for their alleged roles is the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. Karadzic, on trial before the ICTY, denies all charges while Mladic, a fugitive since 1995, has yet to be arrested [JURIST reports].