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Muslim Officers Arrested in Bosnia On War Crimes Allegations - 2001-08-03


Three former Muslim army officers indicted by the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal have been arrested in Bosnia and will be transferred to The Hague to answer charges of war crimes committed against Bosnian Croats in 1993 and 1994.

The three army officers, two generals and a colonel, are the highest-ranking Bosnian Muslims to be arrested so far. They are the first Muslims charged with crimes against Croats committed during the Muslim-Croat war in central Bosnia.

Prosecutors say most of the victims of the crimes were either prisoners of war or civilians. Some were massacred following military attacks, others were killed or beaten in detention centers, and some were used as human shields.

The three army officers, Generals Mehmed Alagic and Enver Hadzihasanovic, and active-duty Brigadier Amir Kubura, are charged as commanders with war crimes and grave breaches of the 1948 Geneva Conventions. Prosecutors say they believe most of the crimes were actually carried out by foreign Muslim fighters who referred to themselves as Mujahedin, or holy warriors.

The three officers are now in detention in Bosnia, but an official of the Muslim-Croat federation said [Friday] the three will be extradited to The Hague in the coming days.

General Hadzihasanovic, who retired last year, was chief of staff for Bosnia's Muslim-dominated army. His Croatian counter-part, General Tihomir Blaskic, has already been convicted and sentenced to 45 years by the court for crimes committed during the same conflict. General Hadzihasanovic has appeared in The Hague before to testify against him and even against General Radislav Krstic, who was convicted of genocide on Thursday.

Prosecutors say they've recently handed over other sealed indictments to Sarajevo officials, but declined to give details about who they are.

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