Bosnia war witness says paramilitary raped Muslims

September 7th, 2012 - 7:37 am ICT by IANS  

The Hague, Sep 7 (IANS/AKI) A prosecution witness in the trial of wartime Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic has said she witnessed Serb paramilitary forces raping Muslim women in 1992.

The protected witness, listed as RM-032, told the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia that the rapes took place in Mladic’s hometown of Kalinovik.

Dozens of women were detained in a Kalinovik school from July to September 1992 and paramilitary forces regularly came to take them out and rape them, she said.

“Some of the girls taken away never returned,” she said.

The witness, who was detained with three children and her sister, said she asked one paramilitary soldier, nicknamed Zaga, when the girls would return. He replied “never”.

Asked what will be done with the detainees, Zaga reportedly said: “We will kill you, like I killed 20 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 near Belgrade in May last year. After being transferred to The Hague for trial, he denied all charges.

Mladic’s lawyer Dragan Ivetic, cross-examining the witness, suggested that paramilitary forces were not “regular Serb forces” under Mladic’s command.

The witness agreed, saying they were members of a paramilitary group called “White eagles”.

Since founded by the UN Security Council in 1993, the tribunal has indicted 161 individuals, mostly Serbs, for war crimes. More than 60 have been already sentenced to over 1,000 years in jail.

–IANS/AKI
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