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Serbs ordered to pay for mosques

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Serb authorities in Bosnia-Hercegovina have been ordered to pay $42m (£26m) to local Muslims for the destruction of mosques during the Bosnian civil war.

All 16 mosques in Banja Luka, the main town of the Serb-run Republika Srpska, were destroyed in the 1992-1995 war.

A lawyer for the area's Muslim community said the local court verdict was of historic importance.

Hundreds of religious buildings were destroyed in the conflict, in which about 100,000 civilians were killed.

The local court ruling came nine years after the Bosnian Islamic Community sued the Bosnian Serb government and Banja Luka city authorities for the destruction of the shrines in 1993.

The Islamic Community said more than 1,000 of its objects were destroyed or damaged during the war.

"For us, what is far more important than material compensation is that for the first time Republika Srpska has taken complete responsibility for the destruction of the mosques," SRNA news agency quoted the Islamic Community's lawyer Esad Hrvacic as saying.

The Dayton peace agreement signed in 1995 created two semi-state entities: Republika Srpska for the Serbs, and the Bosniak-Croat Federation for Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) and Croats.



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