News 13 Nov 12

Trial for War Crimes in Bosanski Petrovac Starts

The trial of two Bosnian Serbs, naturalised citizens of Serbia, who are accused of war crimes committed in Bosnia in 1992 has started at the Special Court in the Serbian capital Belgrade.

Marija Ristic
BIRN
Belgrade

The original indictment against Nedeljko Sovilj and Rajko Vekic, both ex soldiers of the Republika Srpska Army, was issued on October 31 last year by the Cantonal Court in the Bosnian town of Bihac.

As both Sovilj and Vekic are naturalised citizens of Serbia and there is no extradition treaty between Bosnian and Serbia the plea hearing could not be held in Bihac.

The case was transferred to Serbia on the basis of international legal aid service and on August 6 this year the Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office raised the indictment against Sovilj and Vekic.

Sovilj and Vekic are charged with the murder of Mehmed Hrkic, a Bosniak civilian, on December 21, 1992, in the village of Osoje, near the Bosnian town of Bosanski Petrovac.

According the prosecution, the defendants came across Hrkic and another man, Milo Vukelic, as they were passing through the village.

“They ordered Vukelic to go home, and captured Hrkic… The accused – both armed with automatic rifles – took the captive approximately 500 meters deeper into the forest and fired at least three bullets in his direction. Hrkic died on the spot, “ the prosecutor said explaining the indictment.

Sovilj and Vekic, both originally from Bosanki Petrovac, fled to Serbia after the end of the war, where they obtained Serbian citizenship.

The date for the next hearing session is yet to be set.

 

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Background

Timeline – Cuska Case

Timeline of events in the case against 13 former Serb fighters charged with committing war crimes in the villages of Cuska, Zahac, Ljubenic and Pavlac in Kosovo in 1999.

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