Sakib Mahmuljin’s lawyers say he was not responsible for the killings committed by foreign fighters from the El Mujahid unit.
A former Bosnian army general has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for failing to end the killings and torture by foreign fighters who joined his forces during the 1990s war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Sakib Mahmuljin, 68, was held responsible on Friday for the deaths of more than 50 ethnic Serbian prisoners in Vozuca and Zavidovici, in central Bosnia, towards the end of the conflict between July and September 1995, the court ruled. Sarajevo.
The victims were killed by members of the “El Mujahid” – a notorious unit of mainly foreign fighters from North Africa and the Middle East, but also some Western countries, who fell under the command of Mahmuljin of the Third Corps. of the Army.
Mahmuljin “failed to prevent the crimes of murder and inhumane treatment from being committed … and to act so that the perpetrators of these crimes are punished,” the Sarajevo court said in a statement.
Crimes committed under his leadership also included the torture of several civilians, wounded and prisoners of war, the court said.
Mahmuljin’s defense lawyers, who can appeal the verdict, argued during the trial that he “had no effective control over the unit.”
Lawyer Nermin Mulalic had said the prosecution had not even proven who the perpetrators were, according to local media.
“Members of [El-Mujahid] detachment had its own flag and coat of arms … mobilizations and transfers within the detachment were not carried out as in other units of the [RBIH] army (Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina), ”Mulalic said.
One of the defense arguments was that in the internal hierarchy of detachment officials, the Sheikhs and the Shura Council served as the highest organs – unlike the RBIH army – and that the members concealed their identities. and communicated with the centers abroad, the local media. reported.
Over 100,000 died in the 1992-1995 war in which neighboring countries Serbia and Croatia attempted to divide Bosnia and Herzegovina into Greater Serbia and Greater Croatia respectively.
Most of the foreign fighters who joined the conflict in Bosnia left after the war ended with a peace deal brokered by the United States in 1995, while some remained in the country.
Bosnia remains ethnically divided and impoverished despite international efforts at reconciliation.