The former head of Bosnian Muslim forces during the Balkan wars of the 1990s went on trial today at the United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on charges that include murder, rape and torture.
Three judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), sitting in The Hague, are hearing the trial of Rasim Delić, who served as Commander of the Main Staff of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina from June 1993 until September 2005.
Mr. Delić, 58, is charged, on the basis of his command responsibility, for murder, cruel treatment and rape committed by his subordinate forces.
The charges include that he failed to take necessary and reasonable measures to punish those soldiers who executed captured Bosnian Croat civilians and soldiers in two villages in Travnik municipality in central Bosnia.
He also stands accused of failing to prevent the torture, beatings and murders – including a decapitation – committed by subordinates at Kamenica Camp, a detention centre for captured Bosnian Serb soldiers in central Bosnia.
In the most notorious murder, the decapitation of a Bosnian Serb soldier in July 1995, other prisoners were forced to kiss the severed head, which was later placed on a hook on the wall of the room where the prisoners were being held.
Mr. Delić is also charged over the rape by his subordinates of three women at Kamenica Camp.
The ICTY expects the prosecution case will include 55 witnesses and take about 40 trial days to complete.