Bosnian Prosecution’s Slowdown on War Indictments Causes Concern

From January to May this year, the Bosnian state prosecution filed just four indictments for war crimes, two fewer than in the same period in 2018.

The apparent slowdown has sparked concerns that this may cause further delays in attempts to deal with the country's enormous backlog of war crimes cases.

Amendments to the country's war crimes strategy, which were drafted last year, said the state prosecution has more than 550 unresolved war crimes cases in which more than 4,500 perpetrators have been identified, and as many cases again with unknown perpetrators.

The Bosnian judiciary has already failed to meet clear-up targets set in the country's original war crimes strategy, which was adopted in 2008.

The state prosecution declined to answer BIRN's questions about why so few indictments have been filed in 2019 so far.

Ruzica Jukic, the vice president of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, Bosnia's judicial overseer, also said she did not want to comment on the number of indictments filed.

"The prosecutors are responsible for all the prosecutions and work in chambers. They see no problems, so I do not want to comment at all. Because I have really not monitored the subject that much," Jukic said.

In January this year, the prosecution indicted eight former Bosnian Army soldiers for the murders of at least 12 Croatian Defence Council fighters and two Croat women in Krizancevo Selo.

In February, Serb former reservist policeman Milojko Kovacevic was charged with abducting and assaulting Bosniaks in the Visegrad area.

In March, the prosecution indicted former Bosnian Serb Army soldier Milenko Gojgolovic for rape in Vlasenica, and Serb former Territorial Defence fighter Lazar Mutlak for rape in Gorazde.

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