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COURTSIDE: Bosnian August

The summer intake of new indictees at The Hague included Bosnian Serb and Bosniak officers, with several cases expected to be joined.

Two generals and three colonels from both Bosnian entities, the Federation and Republika Srpska, were among the August intake of Hague indictees at the UN detention centre.

Generals Enver Hadzihasanovic and Mehmed Alagic, along with Colonel Amir Kubura, were extradited by Federation authorities and charged with war crimes committed by the Bosnian army third corps in Central Bosnia in 1993-1994. (See Tribunal Update No. 232, August 7, 2001)

All three pleaded not guilty to all counts of the indictment. They are charged with grave breaches of Geneva conventions and violations of the laws or customs of war.

Several days later SFOR troops in Banja Luka arrested Colonel Vidoje Blagojevic, former commander of the Bratunac brigade of the Army of Republika Srpska, VRS, on the basis of a sealed indictment for genocide in Srebrenica, issued in November 1998.

This is the same indictment under which General Radislav Krstic, former commander of the VRS's Drina corps, was convicted and sentenced to 46 years imprisonment for genocide in early August. At The Hague, Blagojevic pleaded not guilty on all eight counts of the indictment.

The final member of the August intake is Lieutenant-Colonel Dragan Jokic, who surrendered voluntarily after being informed that he had been indicted of crimes in Srebrenica. In July 1995, he was head of engineering for the VRS's Zvornik brigade. Jokic also pleaded not guilty.

Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte announced that she would submit a request to join the trials of Blagojevic, Jokic and Dragan Obrenovic, the acting commander of the Zvornik brigade from August to mid-September 1995 , who was arrested in April this year. He has been indicted for genocide, grave breaches of the Geneva conventions and violations of the laws or customs of war.

Considering the extent of crime and the scope of the investigation, it would come as no surprise if this troika of officers were soon joined by other officers of the VRS headquarters and Drina corps, whose role in planning and then executing the Srebrenica massacre was explored in detail during the Krstic trial.

Vjera Bogati is an IWPR special correspondent at The Hague and journalist with SENSE News Agency.

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