The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina announced Friday that it had confirmed the indictment of eight former soldiers of the Army of Republika Srpska, or the Bosnian Serb Army, for crimes against humanity.
Ilija Krčmar, Boško Učanin, Svetislav Račić, Željko Bajić, Nikola Ćuk, Nikola Ćuk, Marinko Miljević, and Dragan Despot are alleged to have persecuted and killed Bosniak, or Bosnian Muslim, civilians in the Ključ municipality, as part of a widespread and systematic attack by the Army of Republika Srpska, the police and paramilitary organizations’ members during the Bosnian War that took place between 1992 and 1995. The indictment claims that the accused were also “aware of such an attack, and knowing that their acts formed part of the attack.”
The eight persons are accused of having persecuted the civilians on “national, ethnic and religious grounds and acted with the discriminatory intent in violation of the rules of international law” when they allegedly shot dead at least 78 civilians, shortly after driving them out of a school building in the village of Velagići, in June 1992. The victims’ bodies were exhumed from a mass grave in 1996.
In November 1995, the US sponsored the Dayton Peace Agreement between Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats that led to the division of Bosnia into a Croat-Bosniak federation and Republic Srpska in a federalized system. An estimated 100,000 people, of which Bosniaks comprise 80 percent, were killed and millions displaced by the end of the Bosnian War. Others were subjected to rape and torture; between 20,000 and 50,000 women were raped during the war. Bosnian Serbs are primarily responsible for the commission of these crimes.
Hundreds have already been convicted, and the country’s judiciary is at present examining about 600 cases involving 4,500 suspects.