War crimes trial of Bosnian Serb ex-minister opens



War crimes trial of Bosnian Serb ex-minister opens The Hague: Former Bosnian Serb interior minister Mico Stanisic was part of a systematic campaign to "permanently remove" non-Serbs from areas of Bosnia, prosecutors charged as his war crimes trial opened in The Hague today.

Stanisic, as former political head of the Bosnian Serb police, is accused of murder, torture and persecution before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) along with his erstwhile subordinate Stojan Zupljanin.

"It is not suggested that either of the two accused personally committed any murders or beatings or took part personally in looting. However, they were aware of these crimes," prosecutor Joanna Korner told the judges.

"Their failure to take any action to investigate the crimes or to take steps to prevent future crimes was ... a positive affirmation of their adherence to the criminal enterprise designed to rid territory of non-Serb peoples."

Stanisic is charged in his capacity as former political head of the Bosnian Serb police, while Zupljanin was in charge of the police of Krajina, the self-declared autonomous region in northwestern Bosnia.

Zupljanin later became an adviser to former Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic, who is himself facing charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide before the ICTY.

Bureau Report