Punishment demanded for wartime Bosnian army commander
As the retrial of former Bosnian army third corps commander Sakib Mahmuljin draws to a close, the prosecution has called for his incarceration for failing to stop Islamic volunteer fighters from torturing and killing civilians. Serbian prisoners.
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Sakib Mahmouljin. Photo: BIRN.
During closing arguments in the retrial of Sakib Mahmuljin in the Bosnian State Court on Tuesday, prosecutor Mladen Vukojicic said the Bosnian army’s wartime third corps commander had failed to prevent members of the El Mujahideen unit, a detachment of Islamic fighters from Middle Eastern countries, of killing Serbian military captives in 1995.
Vukojicic said evidence showed that members of the El Mujahideen unit killed several soldiers and “massacred two of them and held them up and exhibited them” and that on one occasion they were looking for non-Muslims on the front line to “massacre them”. ”.
“[Mahmuljin] failed through the command and control system to take action to prevent such acts. It is obvious that the commander tolerated such behavior, which was demonstrated by testimonies,” said the prosecutor, who requested a prison sentence for the accused.
According to the charges, members of the El Mujahideen unit killed 55 Bosnian Serb army soldiers captured in the Vozuca and Zavidovici areas from July to September 1995 and cut off their heads.
The El Mujahideen unit operated as part of the Bosnian Army’s Third Corps during the war, but Mahmuljin argued at his initial trial that he was not responsible for crimes committed by the foreign fighters.
He was initially found guilty in January 2021 but the verdict was overturned in November last year.
The prosecutor said that during the Bosnian army’s military operation Farz 95, it was indisputable that members of the El Mujahideen unit abducted Bosnian Serb army soldiers and three civilians from a battalion of the 328th brigade of the Bosnian army and took them to their base.
He added that there was enough evidence that Mahmuljin had been informed of the prisoners’ abduction and that they were being mistreated and killed.
The defense will present its closing arguments on April 5.