COURTSIDE: Bosnia Krajina Indictment - Final Name Unsealed

Prosecutors reveal that Stojan Zupljanin has been indicted for crimes in Bosnian Krajina, in an effort to increase pressure for his transfer to The Hague.

COURTSIDE: Bosnia Krajina Indictment - Final Name Unsealed

Prosecutors reveal that Stojan Zupljanin has been indicted for crimes in Bosnian Krajina, in an effort to increase pressure for his transfer to The Hague.

Stojan Zupljanin was named as the third accused on the indictment for genocide in Bosnian Krajina, in northwest Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was revealed last week. The indictment was issued in 1999 and named Radislav Brdjanin and General Momir Talic. The name of the third defendant was kept under seal.


With the case against the two in custody ready for trial, the court is keen to secure the third indictee to avoid having to present the same case against him at a later date. As it is deemed that Zupljanin is a fugitive, and thus is aware that he is subject to the attentions of The Hague, there was no point in keeping the indictment under seal.


At the time covered by the indictment, Zupljanin was commander of all police forces in the so-called Autonomous Region of Krajina, ARK.


Municipal and regional police forces, including those responsible for the operation of detention camps, were under his operative command, the indictment alleges. The notorious Prijedor camps at Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje, among others, were in the ARK area.


The indictment accuses of genocide the leading figures of all three main structures in Bosnian Krajina - the political authorities under Brdjanin, then president of the ARK; the military under Talic, then commanding officer of the First Krajina Corps of the Army of Republika Srpska, VRS; and the police under Zupljanin.


According to the indictment, they "individually and in concert planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided or abetted . . . a campaign designed to destroy Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats, in whole or in part, as national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such, in the area designated as the ARK, including, but not limited to, the municipalities of Prijedor, Kotor Varos, Sanski Most, Kljuc and Banjaluka".


Apart from two counts of genocide and complicity in genocide, Brdjanin, Talic and Zupljanin are also accused of "persecutions, extermination and wilful killing, torture, deportation, unlawful and wanton extensive destruction and appropriation of property; wanton destruction and devastation of villages and institutions dedicated to religion". (See Tribunal Update No. 157, December 20-24, 1999)


Brdjanin and Talic have been in custody since 1999 and have pleaded not guilty to all counts. Their trial should get under way at the end of this year or early next year.


In the hope of trying all three together, earlier this year prosecutors handed over a sealed arrest warrant for Zupljanin to the Bosnian Serb authorities in Banja Luka and to their counterparts in Belgrade.


According to the prosecution, Zupljanin was living in Serbia at the time but soon afterwards "got lost". The Bosnian Serb authorities claim Zupljanin is not on their territory. They also claim to have "unofficial information" that Bosnian Krajina's former top police officer has sought refuge in Russia or China. Prosecutors may hope that unsealing the indictment will increase pressure on authorities, wherever he may be, to turn him over.


Mirko Klarin is IWPR senior editor for the war crimes tribunal and editor-in-chief of SENSE News Agency.


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