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

Visegrad Case Referred to Bosnia

By Merdijana Sadovic in Sarajevo (TU No 496, 9-Apr-07)
The Hague tribunal last week decided to refer to Bosnia the case of Milan and Sredoje Lukić, two Bosnian Serbs indicted for war crimes committed in the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad between 1992 and 1994.

According to the indictment, Milan Lukić was the leader of a notorious group of Bosnian Serb paramilitaries in Višegrad called the "White Eagles" or “Avengers”, which – in coordination with local police and military units – carried out a “brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing designed to rid the area of all non-Serb inhabitants”.

Sredoje Lukić, Milan Lukić’s cousin, was a member of the same unit.

On one occasion in 1992, prosecutors allege that the two men killed some 70 Bosnian Muslims by driving them into a house in Visegrad, setting fire to the building and then gunning down anyone who tried to escape through the windows.

They are alleged to have employed a similar method just two weeks later, this time barricading some 70 Muslims into a house in the village of Bikavac near Visegrad and throwing explosives inside. Only one person is said to have survived.

The two are also accused of a series of other murders, beatings of prisoners and the general charge of persecution of non-Serbs.

Milan Lukic was arrested in Argentina in August 2005, while Sredoje Lukic surrendered to the Republika Srpska authorities a few weeks later.

They were both indicted by the Hague tribunal in 1998, together with another White Eagles member, Mitar Vasiljevic, who was sentenced in February 2004 to 15 years in prison for his role in the murders of Bosnian Muslims in Visegrad.

The prosecution had requested that Milan and Sredoje Lukic be tried in the Bosnian court as part of the tribunal’s completion strategy, which sees the court focusing on higher-level cases in order to meet its goal of finishing all trial proceedings by the end of 2008 and rounding up its work two years later.

The Hague tribunal has to date transferred nine accused to Bosnia and Herzegovina for trial, two to Croatia and one to Serbia.

Merdijana Sadovic is IWPR Hague programme manager.

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