Ex-Bosnian Serb Commander Given 15 Years For War Crimes

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — A former Bosnian Serb military commander was sentenced to 15 years in prison Thursday for crimes against civilians during the country’s 1992-95 interethnic war.

The Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina ruled that Boban Indjic participated in a 1993 atrocity in which 20 non-Serb civilians were hauled off a train in the small Bosnian town of Strpci, near the Serbian border, and taken away to be tortured and killed.

The court found Indjic was part of a group of Bosnian Serb soldiers and paramilitaries that ambushed the train and abducted the 20 passengers, who had been traveling from Serbian capital, Belgrade, to the coastal town of Bar in Montenegro. The group dumped the bodies in the Drina River.

At the time, Indjic was the commander of the intervention detachment of a Bosnian Serb army brigade operating in eastern Bosnia. Last October, the court sentenced seven former members of the detachment to a total of 91 years in prison for their role in the crime.

A separate trial over the Strpci massacre of another former member of the detachment and three ex-members of the notorious Bosnian Serb paramilitary unit the Avengers is currently taking place in Serbia. The sentencing hearing in that trial has been scheduled for Feb. 7.

The Bosnian war was sparked by the breakup of Yugoslavia, which led Bosnia to declare its independence, despite opposition from ethnic Serbs, who made up about one-third of its ethnically and religiously mixed population.

Armed and backed by neighboring Serbia, Bosnian Serbs conquered 60% of Bosnia’s territory in less than two months, committing atrocities against their Bosniak and Croat compatriots. Before the war was over, some 100,000 people had been killed and upward of 2 million, or over a half of the country’s population, were driven from their homes.