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Foca Suspect Commits Suicide

Hague indictee Janko Jancic blows himself up during an arrest bid by S-For troops in Foca

Janko Janjic, accused of the rape of Muslim girls and women in Foca in 1992, last week carried out his threat to commit suicide should an attempt be made to arrest him.

During the night of October 12-13, German Stabilisation Force, S-For, commandos raided Janjic's hideout in Foca, using explosives to break through the door. Janjic, nicknamed Tuta, detonated a hand grenade, killing himself and wounding four of the commandos.

Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte expressed regret at Janjic's suicide, but commended the courage of the S-For troops involved in the action. She said the application of justice in a region still not at peace continues to be "a dangerous business."

Janjic's death, del Ponte said, only underscores the necessity for those publicly accused to "voluntarily surrender at the earliest possible date."

Janjic is the third indictee to die during an arrest attempt. His co-accused Dragan Gagovic, the former head of the Foca police, was killed in January 1999 (see Tribunal Update No. 107) when he drove his vehicle at French S-For troops. Simo Drljaca, the notorious police chief in Prijedor (see Tribunal Update No. 36), died trying to resist arrest by British S-For troops.

Three of the initial eight Foca indictees are currently on trial at The Hague. Several women who testified during the trial of Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovac and Zoran Vukovic claimed to have been raped by Janjic.

The Hague indictment alleges that Janjic, 43, was among a group of soldiers who, in July 1992, arrested women in Mjesaja and Trosanj and took them to a motel in Buk Bijela where several were subsequently raped during interrogation.

Several witnesses claim Janjic later took them from detention centres in the Foca secondary school and Partizan sports hall to various locations around the town where he and others raped them.

The accusations include alleged incidents of gang rape. Janjic was indicted on six counts including crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war.

Three Foca indictees - Gojko Jankovic, Dragan Zelenovic and Radovan Stankovic - remain at large.