March 13, 2010 / 9:59 AM / 10 years ago

Bosnia court indicts Serb for Srebrenica massacre

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Bosnia’s state prosecutor on Saturday indicted a former Serb police commander suspected of taking part in the killing of thousands of Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995, Europe’s worst massacre since World War Two.

Nedjo Ikonic, 45, has been in detention since his extradition to Bosnia in January from the United States, where he had been arrested on an international arrest warrant.

According to the indictment, Ikonic was a commander of a special police brigade operating within the Serb Republic interior ministry during the Bosnian 1992-95 war that claimed 100,000 lives.

“As the commander of the special police unit, Ikonic is charged with taking part in a joint criminal enterprise that aimed to kill men and boys from Srebrenica in July 1995,” the office of the prosecutor Milorad Barasin said in a statement.

It added that Ikonic took part in the arrest of several thousand Muslim men and boys who tried to escape the eastern Bosnian town through the woods and were detained in a warehouse in the nearby village of Kravice.

“Ikonic is charged with ordering, overseeing and abetting the execution of more than 1,000 Muslims who were detained in Kravice,” the office said.

Bosnian Serb forces, commanded by general Ratko Mladic, killed about 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys after the eastern town, which was a United Nations-protected safe zone, fell into their hands in 1995.

Most were killed while trying to escape through the woods, and were either shot or arrested and taken to places of execution before burial in mass graves.

The U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague has sentenced seven Bosnian Serbs for the Srebrenica massacre. Nine more are on trial.

Mladic is still on the run, 14 years after he was indicted. Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic, who is on trial at the Hague-based court, denies 11 counts of war crimes relating to the Bosnian war, including the genocide at Srebrenica.

The Bosnian war crimes court, set up in 2005 to relieve the burden on the Hague-based tribunal, has put dozens of Bosnian Serbs on trial over Srebrenica. Twelve have been jailed, seven acquitted and seven are still being tried.

Reporting by Maja Zuvela; editing by Philippa Fletcher

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