Serb charged over role in Sarajevo siege

EMMA DALY

Sarajevo

The international war-crimes tribunal in The Hague yesterday charged a Bosnian Serb general with crimes against humanity for abetting the siege of Sarajevo, which killed more than 10,000 people and wounded 50,000.

Hours after the Bosnian government declared that the blockade was over- in practice it ended in December after the arrival of Nato troops - the UN tribunal indicted Lieutenant-General Djordje Djukic, a Yugoslav Army officer who ran the Bosnian Serbs' logistics operations.

The general was indicted for aiding and abetting the siege in which "Bosnian Serb military forces, on a widespread and systematic basis, deliberately or indiscriminately fired on civilian targets that were of no military significance in order to kill, injure, terrorise and demoralise the civilian population".

The general's lawyer, Milan Vujin, was contemptuous: "This contains one fact: that General Djukic is in the Bosnian Serb army," he said. "If that is all they have, we can get the trial over today. Yes, he's in the Bosnian Serb army. There's not one other fact here."

General Djukic fell into the hands of his alleged victims on 30 January, when his driver took a wrong turn into Sarajevo and was stopped by Bosnian police. They arrested General Djukic and Colonel Aleksa Krsmanovic, a colleague, prompting an angry response from Bosnian Serb leaders in Pale, who severed ties with the Nato peace force (I-For).

Two weeks later, General Djukic and Colonel Krsmanovic were dispatched on a Nato plane to The Hague for investigation, to the rage - and fear - of their military and political masters. Both men refused to co-operate with the tribunal as witnesses; the Chief Prosecutor's response was to indict General Djukic and extend the colonel's detention.

"Being unable to continue to regard General Djukic as a witness we have had the opportunity of considering evidence we have against him," Judge Richard Goldstone said yesterday. "Whilst our investigations ... are not yet complete, we considered that in respect of two counts there is sufficient evidence to justify indicting General Djukic."

Judge Goldstone said the indictment was likely to be amended as investigations continued. General Djukic was already known to the tribunal: his name figured in evidence attached to the earlier indictments on war crimes of Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic, the political and military leaders of the Bosnian Serb forces.

Most Bosnian Serbs were angered by the arrest of General Djukic, arguing that he and Colonel Krsmanovic were "backroom boys" who could not have blood on their hands.

But both had an important role in organising the weapons and ammunition for the siege, which ended formally yesterday when Bosnian police took control of the Serb-held suburb of Ilijas, linking the city to government territory for the first time since May 1992.

Both men could bring down bigger prey, perhaps even President Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia. Despite the routine denials from Belgrade, it is clear Serbia's help was crucial to the war effort of its Bosnian clients. General Djukic is an officer in both the Yugoslav and Bosnian Serb armies.

General Djukic, due in court on Monday to enter a plea, is unlikely to face trial for months. The only other suspect in detention, Dusan Tadic, is expected to stand trial on 7 May, more than a year after his extradition from Germany to The Hague. Both he and General Djukic are housed in a specially built cell-block in Scheveningen prison.

Colonel Krsmanovic will be another neighbour for at least a month, held as a possible suspect and witness. Judge Goldstone is considering whether to indict him or release him to the Bosnian authorities, who would pursue their own case against him. The colonel refused to attend earlier hearings because he does not recognise the tribunal. He may now consider the role of turncoat preferable to that of defendant.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
filmReview: Gyllenhaal, in one of his finest performances, is funny, engaging and sinister all at once
Life and Style
Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington has been given a huge pay rise to extend his contract as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones
tv
Sport
Luke Shaw’s performance in the derby will be key to how his Manchester United side get on
footballBeating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Life and Style
Google's doodle celebrating Halloween 2014
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
filmThis Halloween, we ask what makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?
News
peopleFarage challenges 'liberally biased' comedians to 'call him a narcissist'
Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior IP Opportunity at Major Firm

vary Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - AN OPENING AT A VERY HIGH Q...

Nursery Manager

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Nursery Manager Long term Ran...

Sales Consultant – Permanent – West Sussex – £24-£25k plus commission and other benefits

£24000 - £25000 Per Annum plus company car and commission: Clearwater People S...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Bris...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes