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Last Updated: Monday, 28 February, 2005, 15:27 GMT
Top Bosnian Muslim held in Hague
Rasim Delic gestures to a group of supporters at Sarajevo's airport
Rasim Delic says he is ready to face the charges
A former commander of the Bosnian army has surrendered to the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague.

Rasim Delic, 56, has been indicted over war crimes said to have been carried out by foreign Islamic fighters during the Bosnian war in the 1990s.

The alleged crimes include the murder and torture of Bosnian Serbs and Croats and the rape of female prisoners.

Hundreds of foreign Islamic fighters, or Mujahideen, joined the Bosnian army during the 1992-1995 war.

Many settled in the country after the war.

Send-off

Gen Delic denies responsibility for the crimes, saying there were three command levels between him and the foreign fighters.

Mujahideen began arriving in Bosnia-Hercegovina shortly after the war erupted in 1992.

The indictment relates to two cases involving their activities:

  • The killings of at least 24 captured Bosnian Croats in the central Bosnian region of Travnik municipality in 1993;

  • The ill-treatment of Bosnian Serb prisoners, at least 14 of whom are listed as having died at the Kamenica camp in 1995. The charges also include the rape of three Bosnian Serb women.

The indictment is one of the last to be issued by the tribunal, which aims to wrap up its work by 2010, the BBC's Geraldine Coughlan reports from The Hague.

My fellow fighters, thanks for coming and don't worry. Justice wins
General Rasim Delic

Prosecutors say Gen Delic "knew or had reason to know" that crimes were being committed by his subordinates, and that he had failed to prevent such acts.

The unit, called El Mujaheed, consisted of fighters from Islamic countries and fought with the Bosnian army for the independence of Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Gen Delic said he was happy to go to The Hague to defend his role in the war.

Bosnian Prime Minister Adnan Terzic joined hundreds of war veterans to bid farewell to Gen Delic in Sarajevo on Monday.

"My fellow fighters, thanks for coming and don't worry. Justice wins," the retired general told the crowd.

The man he succeeded in 1993 - former Bosnian Army Cdr Sefer Halilovic - is already on trial in The Hague.

He is charged with the massacre of 62 Bosnian Croat civilians in 1993.

The two generals are the highest-ranking Bosnian Muslims to go on trial in The Hague.

Meanwhile a close aide to the former Bosnian Serb General, Ratko Mladic, has also gone to The Hague to surrender to the court.

Radivoje Miletic is indicted over the massacre at Srebrenica in 1995, along with another retired general, Milan Gvero, who turned himself in last week.




SEE ALSO:
Bosnia: The legacy of war
15 Nov 00 |  Europe
Country profile: Bosnia-Hercegovina
11 Jan 05 |  Country profiles


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