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Two Bosnian Serb suspects return to UN tribunal to face trial

Two Bosnian Serb suspects return to UN tribunal to face trial

Two defendents in the "Bosanski Samac" case - named after a municipality where Bosnian Croats and Muslims were persecuted and deported between 1991 and 1995 - have returned to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague for their trial, which starts on 10 September.

The UN Tribunal said in a statement that Simo Zaric and Miroslav Tadic had returned yesterday to the Tribunal's detention facility in The Hague, having travelled to the Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina in April 2000 after being granted provisional release. Milan Simic, who is part of the same case, was provisionally released in June 2000 and returned to The Hague on 13 August 2001 for the start of his trial.

All three suspects are charged, along with others, with having "planned, instigated, ordered, committed, or otherwise aided and abetted the planning, preparation, or execution of a crime against humanity, that is, the persecutions of Bosnian Croat, Bosnian Muslim and other non-Serb civilians on political, racial, or religious grounds, throughout the municipalities of Bosanski Samac, Odzak and elsewhere in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina," between September 1991 and December 1993, according to the Second Amended Indictment of 11 December 1998.

That indictment states that almost 17,000 Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims - of a total population of about 33,000 - lived in the municipality of Bosanski Samac prior to 17 April 1992. Following the forcible take-over of the municipality by Serb forces, the majority of the non-Serb residents fled or were forced to leave the area so that by May 1995, fewer than 300 of the 17,000 Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Muslim residents remained.