BERSERKISTAN

Berserkistan Navigator Nine Charged by Tribunal in
Lasva Valley Massacre

In groundbreaking indictment, sexual assaults are
prosecuted as torture, a crime against humanity.

By Ian Geoghegan

MAP: Lasva Valley THE HAGUE, June 27 (Reuters) - A U.N. war crimes tribunal on Thursday charged eight Bosnian Serbs with raping and torturing Muslim women, some as young as 15, during a barbarous assault on the southeast Bosnian town of Foca between 1992 and early 1993. The single indictment against the men, all policemen, soldiers or paramilitaries, is the first to focus specifically on rape as a war crime.

"The indictment is of major legal significance as it is the first time that sexual assault has been diligently investigated for the purpose of prosecution under the rubric of torture...as a crime against humanity," the U.N. criminal tribunal for former Yugoslavia said in a statement.

The eight Serbs are accused of separating Muslim women from their menfolk, holding them in camps "run like brothels" and subjecting them to "almost constant rape, sexual assault and torture." Many were left permanently gynaecologically scarred. The tribunal highlighted the tragic tale of one 15-year-old girl, identified as FWS-87, who was enslaved, raped and tortured by countless soldiers over an eight month period.

In February 1993, one of the accused sold the girl to two Montenegro soldiers for 500 marks ($327.3), the tribunal said. It also charged nine men with war crimes relating to Bosnian Croat attacks on Muslim villages in the Lasva Valley area of central Bosnia in 1992 and 1993. It said two indictments, covering the nine men, had been confirmed last November but their announcement had been delayed because of fears for the safety of victims and witnesses.

An earlier indictment relating to Croat Defence Council (HVO) attacks on the Lasva Valley accused eight men including Dario Kordic, vice-president of the Croatian community in Bosnia, and his military head Tihomir Blaskic, of taking part in systematic attacks on Muslim villages and murdering civilians.

It said the worst attack was on the village of Ahmici where "every Muslim house was burned and many unarmed Muslim civilians were deliberately and systematically shot." It alleges that at least 103 Muslims were killed.

In a separate charge, the tribunal accused a Croat policeman of murdering four of his Muslim neighbours and shooting at close range three members of one family, including a young orphaned niece and a man confined to a wheelchair. Arrest warrants for all 17 new suspects are to be sent to the Croat and Bosnia-Herzegovina authorities.

The tribunal, set up by the U.N. Security Council three years ago, is the first body to prosecute war crimes since the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials after World War Two. Thursday's new charges bring to 75 the number of suspects accused of war crimes, although one has since died. Seven accused are held in the tribunal's Hague cells.



To learn more...
Berserkistan, June 27 · Tribunal Prosecutors Charge Karadzic, Mladic with Ethnic Cleansing

INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE
Key Facts about the War Crimes Tribunal
War Crimes Profile: Dusan Tadic
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia from the United Nations
Coalition for International Justice
Reports concerning human rights abuses in Bosnia published by Intac Access
Major War Criminals/Suspects from CalTech's Bosnia Site
Reports on War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia from CalTech's Bosnia Site
Berserkistan World Links for more International Justice Resources


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