2014-12-06 08:27:00

Arrests made over Bosnian war atrocity

(Vatican Radio) Police in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia have detained 15 men suspected of an atrocity in which 19 people were hauled off a train and killed during the Bosnian War in 1993. The case underscores the long road towards reconciliation between former enemies, where many war crimes remain unresolved. 


Officials said police in Bosnia-Herzegovina and neighbouring Serbia, countries that emerged after the bloody break-up of Yugoslavia, finally detained those who allegedly carried out the train massacre that had been known for decades. 

Authorities said those detained were Bosnian Serb fighters who ambushed a train in the small Bosnian town of Strpci, near the Serbian border.  

Serbian police arrested five suspects, while 10 were taken into custody in Bosnia. Among them senior figures in the former Bosnian Serb army, such as General Luka Dragicevic, who commanded the military in the border zone.

Prosecutors say the ringleader in the Strpci case was Milan Lukic. The former Bosnian Serb warlord is already serving a life sentence for other war crimes. His brother Gojko was among those detained. 

Investigators say at least 19 Muslims were tortured, then shot and their bodies dumped in the River Drina. Only the human remains of three victims have been found in a lake. 

The arrests are seen as an important step in joint Bosnian-Serbian investigations as part of an effort to heal the wounds of history, following the Bosnian War that killed more than 100,000 people. 

The probe has been backed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 

It remains unclear whether the suspects will point to those who ordered the killings. That could implicate some of Serbia’s top current leaders, who were prominent in the war machine of then-president Slobodan Milosevic. 

While the Serbian government now acknowledges Strpci as a war crime, the killers are still seen by some in Serbia as war heroes.

The arrests are also meant to do at least some justice to grieving relatives, such as Atifa Memovic. 

She last saw her husband, Fikret, a railway worker, two decades ago on a snowy day. He kissed her and promised to be back on the afternoon train. 

He never made it. 





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