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

COURTSIDE: Brdjanin/Talic Case

Prosecutors for lengthy trial of Bosnian Serb officials implicated in the ethnic cleansing of north-west Bosnia.

After two years of preparations, the trial for genocide and ethnic cleansing in the Bosanska Krajina area is set to begin on January 14 2002.

Preliminary estimates suggest that trials of General Momir Talic and politician Radoslav Brdjanin could last anything from 12 to 18 months. They were both members of the Banja Luka-based "Crisis Staff", composed of the Bosnian Serb leadership in the area known as the Autonomna Oblast Krajina (Autonomous Region of Krajina), encompassing 16 municipalities in north-west Bosnia.

The cleansing of the non-Serb population in that area in 1992 was allegedly planned and implemented by the Crisis Staff, of which Brdjanin was president. Talic, a commander OF the regional 1st Krajina corps of the Bosnian Serb army, was another prominent member.

The prosecution has prepared 177 witnesses, together with written depositions from a further 47, including camp detainees, people forced from their homes and military experts. It aims to prove that the two defendants acted with intent to commit genocide against the non-Serb population.

So far, only one individual has been found guilty of genocide in north-west Bosnia, the Bosnian Serb general Radislav Krstic, accused of war crimes in Srebrenica. In the trial for crimes at the north-west Bosnian camp of Keraterm, the camp commander Dusko Sikirica had been acquitted of the genocide charge back in June.

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

As coronavirus sweeps the globe, IWPR’s network of local reporters, activists and analysts are examining the economic, social and political impact of this era-defining pandemic.