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Serb Charged in Siege of Sarajevo

Balkans: Former commander is accused of responsibility for attacks against civilians.

November 08, 2001|Reuters

THE HAGUE — The United Nations war crimes tribunal said Wednesday that it had charged a former Bosnian Serb commander with crimes against humanity for sniper and mortar attacks against civilians during the 1992-95 siege of Sarajevo.

Dragomir Milosevic was accused of responsibility for terrorizing, killing and wounding dozens of civilians during a 44-month siege of the capital by Serbian forces after Bosnia-Herzegovina voted to break away from the former Yugoslav federation in 1992.

"Because of the shelling and sniping against civilians, the life of every Sarajevo inhabitant became a daily struggle to survive," the indictment said.

Milosevic, whose whereabouts remain unknown, is charged with crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war alongside his former superior, Maj. Gen. Stanislav Galic, who is in The Hague awaiting trial.

Both men are accused of individual criminal responsibility for a campaign of shelling and sniping against Sarajevo's civilians, including those tending vegetable plots, queuing for bread, collecting water or shopping in the city's markets.

Galic pleaded not guilty at his first appearance before the tribunal.

The siege of Sarajevo claimed more than 10,000 lives, mostly Muslims, including almost 1,800 children. About 50,000 people were injured during the siege, which was punctuated by a spate of atrocities, including mortar attacks on a market and a football game.

The 59-year-old fugitive commander, who is not related to former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, was charged under a sealed indictment in April 1998, and a warrant for his arrest was issued to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led Stabilization Force, or SFOR, in Bosnia.

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