Bosnian Croat NGO files war crimes suits against Muslim leaders

Other News Materials 23 March 2009 04:20 (UTC +04:00)

A Bosnian Croat nongovernmental organization (NGO) said on Sunday that it has filed war crimes suits against Bosniak (Muslim) political and military leaders, including the incumbent Bosniak member of the Bosnian collective presidency Haris Silajdzic.

Croatia Libertas, an NGO based at Mostar in southern Bosnia, said in a statement that it has filed charges with the Bosnia- Herzegovina Prosecutor's Office and the Mostar Cantonal Prosecutor 's Office against Bosniak political and military leaders accusing them of war crimes against 375 Croat inmates of detention camps during 1991-1995, Xinhua reported.

"We have evidence that 331 concentration camps existed, set up by the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, exclusively for non-Bosniaks ( non-Muslims). Based on new testimonies and new material evidence, we have also submitted an earlier complaint which we expect to at long last enter an investigative phase," it said.

The NGO said it regretted that measures had not been taken to penalize crimes against Croats in Bosnia.
During the Bosnian war from April 1992 to December 1995, Silajdzic served successively as the foreign minister and the prime minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was perceived as the most visible advocate for self-defense and military assistance to Bosnia, insisting Bosnia faced foreign aggression.

Bosnian Muslims, which account for 43.5 percent of 3.8 million population in Bosnia, are the largest ethnic group in the country but felt vulnerable in the war as the other two ethnic groups Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats could count on their neighboring mother countries Serbia and Croatia.
Criminal charges were also filed against the wartime commander and Bosnia's incumbent Defense Minister, Selmo Cikotic, head of the Muslim community Mustafa efendi Ceric, war time commander of the Bosnian Army Main Staff Sefer Halilovic and other wartime officials as well as a number of foreign nationals who came to Bosnia from several Arab and Asian countries.

The charges were filed based on documents and testimonies published in the book "Muslim prison camps for Croats in 1991-1995 in Bosnia-Herzegovina," by Ivica Mlivoncic. The book was launched recently in Mostar.
Croatia Libertas said it would forward the charges to the UN Human Rights Department to point to judiciary problems in Bosnia.