Bosnia’s police authorities have arrested two war crimes suspects in as many days, as judicial institutions are looking to speed up solving a backlog of cases.
Safet Delic was arrested in Velika Kladusa and Zoran Marinic in Busovaca, as the Bosnian authorities look to implement the state war crimes prosecution strategy which was adopted in 2008.
Even though the Strategy foresees that all war crimes cases are to be prosecuted within 15 years, Milorad Novkovic, the president of the Bosnian High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, HJPC, admits that no great strides have been seen in the first three years after its adoption.
However, as Novkovic tells BIRN, the HJPC has, mapped out, during the course of this year, all remaining war crimes cases and found that currently there are 1,320 active investigations.
The cases have been divided between 16 entity prosecutions and the State Prosecutor’s office.
“I expect that now, the Strategy deadlines – under which we have another 12 years - will be fully respected,” Novkovic said.
On Thursday, October 4, the police in Bihac has arrested Safet Delic, a former Bosnian Army soldier suspected of physically abusing and raping a woman on August 7, 1995, in the territory of Velika Kladusa.
“Delic is suspected, together with another soldier, of coming to the house of K.F., knowing that her close relative is a member of the so-called People’s Defence of the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia, and physically abused her by hitting her with the rifle, fists and legs all over her body, and raped her,” the cantonal prosecutor, Jasmin Mesic, told BIRN.
The prosecutor said that the investigation is in the final stages and that the indictment would be filed soon.
On Wednesday morning, the State Investigation and Protection Agency, SIPA, has arrested Zoran Marinic, a Bosnian Croat suspected of war crimes against the civilians in the Busovaca area in 1993.
Marinic, former member of the Croatian Defence Council, HVO, is suspected of having participated in the murder of four Bosniaks.
The State Prosecution's announcement says that the Hague Tribunal's prosecution opened the investigation against Marinic, but the case was later transferred to the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina.