Former Top Bosniak General Faces War Crimes Charges

24/02/2005

Retired General Rasim Delic has announced he will surrender to The Hague war crimes tribunal to face charges stemming from the actions of a unit of Islamic volunteers during the BiH conflict.

By Antonio Prlenda for Southeast European Times in Sarajevo – 24/02/05

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Former Bosnian Army Muslim Commander Rasim Delic announced that he will surrender to The Hague on 28 February. He has been charged in connection with war crimes committed during the Bosnian conflict. [AFP]

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) made public Thursday (24 February) the charges brought against the wartime commander of the Bosnian Muslim army. The move follows retired General Rasim Delic's announcement on Tuesday that he would surrender voluntarily to The Hague-based court next week.

Delic, who is currently military adviser to the Bosniak member of Bosnia and Herzegovina's (BiH) tripartite presidency, Sulejman Tihic, has been charged with bearing indirect command responsibility for war crimes committed against civilians and prisoners of war, including the torture and murder of Bosnian Serb prisoners at the Kamenica camp in the Gostovic valley.

The crimes were committed between 1993 and 1995 by the El-Mujahid military unit, comprising fighters from Islamic countries who flocked to BiH during the conflict to help the Bosnian Muslim forces. The unit was subordinated to the 3rd Corps of the Army of the Republic of BiH (ARBiH). At the time, General Delic was commander of the Supreme Command of the ARBiH.

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According to the indictment, the Bosnian Serb prisoners held in Kamenica were subjected to electric shocks and the use of high-pressure air hoses. In another incident, occurring in September 1995, ARBiH troops captured dozens of Bosnian Serb soldiers and civilians, including three women. They were also sent to the Kamenica camp. All of the estimated 60 soldiers went missing and are presumed dead, while the women were abused and raped, the AP quoted the indictment as saying.

A third indictment refers to in an incident the day Delic assumed his command post. According to the ICTY, El-Mujahid fighters "indiscriminately opened gunfire" on a group of Bosnian Croat prisoners captured after an attack on the village of Maline in the Travnik municipality.

The ICTY is already prosecuting the first commander of the ARBiH 3rd Corps, General Enver Hadzihasanovic, and the commander of the 7th Muslim Brigade, Amir Kubura, for crimes committed by the El-Mujahid. In September 1995, during the ARBiH’s 3rd and 2nd Corps operation to liberate Vozuca village, the El-Mujahid unit was deployed behind enemy lines and committed violent acts against Bosnian Serb civilians as well as war prisoners.

Bosniak officials have voiced support for Delic, arguing that the ARBiH generally respected international war conventions.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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