Page last updated at 17:57 GMT, Wednesday, 9 July 2008 18:57 UK

Cousins tried over Bosnia horrors

Guards flank Milan Lukic in court (file picture)
Milan Lukic went on the run for seven years after he was indicted

Two former Bosnian Serb paramilitary commanders have gone on trial in The Hague on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the 1990s.

Prosecutors at the international war crimes tribunal say cousins Milan and Sredoje Lukic murdered Muslims in the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad.

They are alleged to have barricaded about 140 women, children and elderly men into houses and set fire to them.

The two men deny the charges, which carry a maximum life sentence.

Milan Lukic went on the run for seven years after he was indicted, but was arrested in Argentina in August 2005 and was handed over to the tribunal after being extradited.

Sredoje Lukic surrendered to the Bosnian Serb authorities the following month.

The indictment says Milan Lukic led a group called the White Eagles, alleging it was responsible for extermination, murder and persecution during the Bosnian war.

"What Milan Lukic and Sredoje Lukic did wasn't [that of] a band of criminals, but was a widespread and systematic attack on the civilian population," prosecutor Dermot Groome told the tribunal.

Prosecutors say the White Eagles carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing in the Bosnian city of Visegrad.

Milan Lukic was sentenced in absentia in Belgrade in 2003 to 20 years in prison for the murder of 16 Muslims in Serbia in 1992.

In 2005, Milan and Sredoje Lukic were two of the tribunal's top fugitives.

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