April 6, 2007

Trial of Bosnian Serb Paramilitaries Transferred From UN Tribunal; Charged with crimes against women and children

Blog Editor’s comment: I have read in local Bosnian news sources that the main reason Milan Lukic and Sredoje Lukic haven’t been charged with numerous rapes against women and children was reluctance of raped women to come forward and testify. I have even voiced my protest with Mrs Bakira Hasecic, president of the rape-victim association “Woman – Victim of War”, for her Association not doing more to convince rape victims to testify against the two. Now that the trial of the two is referred to Bosnia, we can only hope that the rape victims will feel more comfortable coming forward with their testimonies, so rape charges can be added to a long list of crimes Lukic pair committed in the Eastern Bosnia.

The United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia announced today that it is referring the case of a Bosnian Serb paramilitary leader and his cousin who are accused of burning to death scores of Bosniak women, children and elderly men in 1992.

The trial of Milan Lukic, leader of a paramilitary unit known as the White Eagles or Avengers, and Sredoje Lukic, a member of the same unit, will now take place within Bosnia and Herzegovina’s court system.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which sits in The Hague, has so far transferred nine accused to Bosnia and Herzegovina for trial, along with two accused to Croatia and one to Serbia.

Milan Lukic was taken into custody by the ICTY in February last year after having been transferred from Argentina, where he was arrested in 2005 after nearly seven years on the run.

Lukic and his cousin face multiple charges relating to the activities of their paramilitary unit, which prosecutors say worked with local police and military units to exact a reign of terror over Muslims in the area around Visegrad in south-eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Balkan wars of the early 1990s.

The Lukic cousins are accused of murdering about 70 Muslim women, children and elderly men by barricading them in one room of a house in Visegrad, setting the house on fire and then firing automatic weapons at those who tried to escape through the windows.

In a separate incident, the two men are accused of murdering about 70 other Muslims in the nearby village of Bikavac by forcing the victims into a house, barricading all exits and then throwing in several explosive devices.

The cousins are also accused of beating Muslim men who had been detained in a concentration camp at a military barracks in Visegrad.

Milan Lukic is charged separately with several other counts of murder in which he is alleged to have led groups of Muslim men to the bank of the Drina River near Visegrad and then killed them.

Source: The United Nations

  1. Owen
    April 7, 2007 at 9:00 am

    Dan, I disagree with your criticism of the Visegrad rape victims who were unwilling to testify. We are in no position to judge the trauma they experienced.

    What is important is to honour the courage of the women who have testified, like the brave women from Brezovo Polje who not only told Roy Gutman what had happened to them but had their photograph taken and published in “A Witness to Genocide”. One of them said to him “We want the world to know about our truth”. But not everyone who has endured what they did has that strength.

  2. owen
    July 20, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    20 July 2009 Milan Lukić was found guilty by the ICTY Trial Chamber of all charges in the indictment before the court, including murders in the Pionirska street fire and the Bikavac fire, of which the Court observed that they "exemplify the worst acts of inhumanity that a person may inflict upon others. In the all too long, sad and wretched history of man’s inhumanity to man, the Pionirska street and Bikavac fires must rank high." Sredoje Lukić was found guilty of aiding and abetting the Pionirska street murders.

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