Bosnia police detain 13 Serb ex-soldiers, police suspected of war crimes

SARAJEVO Mon Sep 1, 2014 6:50am EDT

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SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Bosnian police on Monday detained 13 former Bosnian Serb soldiers and policemen suspected of taking part in the murder and persecution of hundreds of Bosnian Croats and Muslim Bosniaks early in the country's 1992-95 war.

The case was handed over to the Bosnian prosecutors from the Hague-based U.N. war crimes tribunal, which has been relegating cases to the judiciary in ex-Yugoslav countries before it ends its 20-year work at the end of this year.

Among the detained are several top wartime police officers and members of a notorious military group known as "Mice", suspected of committing the war crimes in the northern towns of Teslic and Doboj, a statement from the prosecutor's office said.

They are charged with the murder of at least 40 Croats and Bosniaks, "persecution, enforced displacement and illegal detention of several hundred people, as well as the robbery and destruction of property of Croat and Bosniak victims in the area", the statement said.

As part of its completion strategy, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), founded in 1993 to try the war crimes from the Balkan wars of the 1990s, has transferred several dozen cases of intermediate and lower-ranked suspects to the Bosnian war crimes court.

Trials of the two top culprits of the Bosnian war, the Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander General Ratko Mladic, are still under the way at the Hague tribunal.

The Bosnian court aims to complete its major war crimes trials by 2018.

(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Zoran Radosavljevic and Alison Williams)

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