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Music: Not Guilty in Atrocity Charges
Former Celebici Prison Camp Commander Suspect in Murder and Torture Serbs
Zdravko Mucic at the Tribunal THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The first suspect held by the U.N. war crimes tribunal for alleged atrocities against Serbs pleaded innocent Thursday to all charges. Zdravko Mucic, a 40-year-old Bosnian Croat, had been turned over to the international tribunal two days earlier by Austria. He is accused of committing war crimes against Serb prisoners at a government-run camp in central Bosnia.

Mucic commanded the Celebici prison camp — about 25 miles southwest of the capital Sarajevo — where Serb inmates were allegedly tortured to death in 1992. The U.N. tribunal has also indicted three Muslims in connection with the murder, torture and rape of Serb detainees at the Bosnian camp. Guards under Mucic’s command allegedly carried out 14 murders, five acts of torture including two rapes, and inhumane acts that included forcing prisoners to sexually abuse each other.

One Survivor Defends Mucic
But one Celebici camp survivor, Relja Mrkajic, said in an interview last month that he never saw Mucic mistreat inmates. Mrkajic said that although beatings were frequent at the camp, “no one was allowed to beat us” in Mucic’s presence.

Under international law, Mucic could be found guilty if he knew about the atrocities and failed to punish those who committed them. At his court appearance, Mucic, dressed in a gray sweater and white shirt, said “I plead not guilty” in Serbo-Croatian when the charges were read to him by U.S. Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald. Mucic was represented by a court-appointed British lawyer, Robert Rhodes, who has 60 days to file pretrial motions. One of the Muslims indicted with Mucic, Zejnil Delalic, is in custody in Germany. Prosecutors say German authorities could hand him over as soon as next week.

Celebici Guards Said to Use Torture
According to the indictment, Celebici guards used an electrical appliance to administer shocks to inmates, women were raped and one elderly man had a political pin nailed to his forehead and was beaten to death. Guards are said to have used rifle butts, chains and steel cables to beat their captives, who had been rounded up in central Bosnia.

Set up by the Security Council in 1993, the tribunal has indicted 57 suspects: 46 Serbs, eight Croats and three Muslims. Four of the indicted suspects are in custody in The Hague.

Additional resources
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
Prison Camps Final Report of the UN Commission of Experts

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