Serbs charged with war crimes

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Serbs charged with war crimes

The Hague International War Crimes Tribunal issued its first mass indictments on February 13, charging 21 Serbs with 275 counts of war crimes, breaches of the Geneva Convention, crimes against humanity and genocide.

All of the accused were commanders, guards or regular visitors to the notorious Omarska concentration camp at Prijedor, in north-east Bosnia, where Bosnians were murdered, raped and tortured.

The camp commander, Zeljko Meakic, faces three charges of genocide for killing, injuring and severely maltreating prisoners "with the intention of destroying the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat people as national, ethnic and religious groups", said the tribunal's deputy prosecutor, Graham Blewitt. More than 3000 prisoners were held at Omarska.

Warrants have been issued for all the suspects, but only one, Dusko Tadic, is being held. He will be transferred from Germany to The Hague for his trial on 132 counts, beginning in April. The others remain in the Serb-controlled Prijedor region. The indictments were issued after a five-month investigation by 20 tribunal lawyers collected evidence from 12 countries.

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