Bosnian Serb detention camp guards arrested for war crimes

[JURIST] Police in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) arrested [press release] two former Bosnian Serb detention camp guards on Thursday who were allegedly responsible for the death of around 50 civilians and Bosnian soldiers during the Bosnian civil war [JURIST news archive]. Ratko Dronjak was commander of a detention camp in the village of Kamenica, which held prisoners between 1992 and 1995. Dragan Rodic was a guard at the same camp. Both men are suspected of several crimes under the BiH criminal code [text, PDF] including:


killing about 50 civilians and prisoners of war, members of the Army of [Bosnia and Herzegovina]; of inflicting serious bodily injuries to a large number of detainees who went through the "Kamenica" camp in the period from 1992 to 1995; for holding them incarcerated under cruel and degrading conditions, creating an atmosphere of terror, depriving them of basic necessities, submitting them through everyday questionings, beatings, torture, harassment, humiliation, psychological abuse; of failing to provide medical care and keeping the detainees in constant fear for their lives.

Dronjak and Rodic are charged with violating international humanitarian law including war crimes and crimes against humanity. The men will be handed over to the BiH Prosecutor's Office [official website] for questioning over the next few days.

The BiH war crimes court was set up in the 2005 to relieve the caseload of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website]. The court delivered its first sentences [JURIST report] against war crimes suspects from Yugoslavia's violent ethnic conflicts of the 1990s in July 2008, convicting seven of genocide for their involvement in killings committed at the Srebrenica [JURIST news archive] prison camp. While the ICTY has jurisdiction over high-level war crimes allegations, such as those against Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic [ICTY materials; JURIST news archive] and General Ratko Mladic [ICTY materials], the BiH courts can try lower level suspects.

 

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