The Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday announced the arrest of nine men suspected of participating in the massacre of 44 Bosnian Muslims in 1992.
In addition to the nine who have been arrested, the prosecutor’s office has accused two others, an unnamed man living in Canada and Radislav Krstic. The prosecutor’s office will seek extradition of the unnamed man in Canada. Krstic, a former Bosnian general, was convicted of war crimes by the Hague Tribunal and is currently imprisoned in Poland.
The 44 Bosnian Muslims lived in the village of Novoseoci, in the municipality of Sokolac. The victims were between the ages of 14 and 82, and included one woman. The rest of Novoseoci’s Bosnian Muslim population, all women and children, was reportedly sent to Sarajevo. After the massacre, the village mosque was destroyed and the rubble dumped over the bodies. All but one of the bodies was found after the war. Novoseoci sits within territory Bosnian Serb forces sought to annex for an exclusively Serb state.
The arrests came the same day as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) released a report on the processing of war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Commissioned by the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with support from the UK, the report notes an increase in the processing of war crimes by the Special Department for War Crimes (SDWC). Judge Joanna Korner, the author of the report, attributes this to the change in leadership. According to the report, the SDWC has increased communication with judges over pending cases.
Several years ago Bosnia and Herzegovina stated their intent to finish processing and prosecuting war crimes by 2023. There are still more than 600 unresolved cases involving more than 4,500 suspects.