Bosnia: Witness describes paramilitaries raping Muslims

The Hague, 6 Sept. (AKI) – A prosecution witness in the trial of wartime Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic told the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on Thursday she witnessed how Serb paramilitaries raped Muslim women in Mladic’s hometown of Kalinovik in the summer of 1992.Protected witness, listed as RM-032, said dozens of women were detained in Kalinovik school from July to September 1992 and paramilitaries were regularly coming to take them out and rape. “Some of the girls taken away had never returned,” she said.

The witness, who was detained with three children and her sister, said she asked one paramilitary, nicknamed Zaga, when the girls would return, and he replied “never”. Asked what will be with the detainees, Zaga reportedly said: “We will kill you, like I killed twenty people a few nights ago.”

Mladic has been charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed by forces under his command during Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war. He was arrested north of Belgrade in May last year. After being transferred to the Hague for trial, he denied the charges.

Mladic’s lawyer Dragan Ivetic, cross-examining the witness, suggested that paramilitaries were not “regular Serb forces” under Mladic command. The witness agreed, saying they were members of a paramilitary group called “White eagles”.

Since it was founded by the United Nations Security Council in 1993, the tribunal has indicted 161 individuals, mostly Serbs, for war crimes. More than sixty have been already sentenced to over one thousand years in jail.

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