Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Courtside: Alagic Case

By Chris Stephen in The Hague and Amra Kebo in Sarajevo (TU 303, 03-07 March 2003)

The 55-year-old general was indicted together with other senior army figures, Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura, for war crimes allegedly committed in central Bosnia in 1993.

Alagic was one of the most famous Bosnian government commanders of the war, leading a series of successful offensives against Bosnian Croats forces in the Vitez-Travnik area.

After the war he was jailed for four years on corruption charges by the Bosnian government after becoming mayor of the town of Sanski Most.

He and his two co-defendants were arrested by Bosnian police in August 2001 and transferred to The Hague.

Paying tribute to the general who probably saved the military situation for government forces in central Bosnia in 1993, former Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic said, ”General Alagic did not die because of a heart attack. He died because of injustice.”

At the time of his death, Alagic was on bail living in Bosnia.

A crowd of more than 25,000 attended his funeral in Sanski Most, including politicians and army commanders. He was buried in a cemetery in the village of his birth - Fajtovci, outside Sanski Most.

Buses brought well-wishers from towns across Bosnia, including Banja Luka, Travnik and Gornji Vakuf. Soldiers fired a salute at a military ceremony attended by Bosnian army generals on Sunday, March 9.

His indictment alleged that mujahedin and seven brigade units under his command tortured prisoners - in some cases beating them to death - in Zenica Music School.

In fact, Alagic supporters say the general was opposed to the mujahedin - units of Middle Eastern volunteers - but was unable to control them.

A full biography will appear in a future issue of Tribunal Update.

Chris Stephen is IWPR’s bureau chief in The Hague. Amra Kebo is a commentator for the Sarajevo daily Oslobodjenje.

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