December 29, 2016 / 12:52 PM / a year ago

Sarajevo police commander indicted for war crimes against Serbs

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - A Sarajevo police commander whose special forces fought to defend the Bosnian capital from Bosnian Serb attacks during the 1992-95 siege, was indicted on Thursday for war crimes against Serb prisoners early in the war.

Dragan Vikic, 59, and then Bosnian Interior Minister Jusuf Pusina, are accused of knowing, approving and covering up the killing of eight soldiers of the then Yugoslavian army (JNA) in Sarajevo Great Park in April 1992, the state prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

The soldiers, who were trapped in a broken armoured vehicle at the outskirts of Sarajevo while trying to leave the city as part of a JNA convoy, were killed in a machine-gun burst and their bodies taken away to an unknown location, it said.

The two men are the highest profile wartime officials accused so far of war crimes against Serbs in Sarajevo.

Vikic dismissed any connection with the incident.

“My hands, and the hands of the people under my command, are clean,” he told Sarajevo website Klix.

Bosnian Serb forces, helped by the Serb-dominated Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA), held Sarajevo under siege from April 1992 until December 1995 during which around 11,000 people died.

“The defendants are accused that they, as members of police and security structures who were positioned close to the site of the crime, were informed about the crime or personally witnessed the execution of the crime,” the statement said.

They failed to arrest, prosecute and punish the executioners and prevent the removal of evidence and hiding of the bodies, the statement added.

Two other police officers, Nermin Uzunovic and Mladen Covcic, are accused of taking part in the killings.

Partial remains of two soldiers have been found while others are still unaccounted for, the statement said.

Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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