April 6, 2007 / 5:44 PM / 12 years ago

Bosnia court opens war crimes trial of two Serbs

SARAJEVO, April 6 (Reuters) - Bosnia’s war crimes court opened a trial on Friday against two Bosnian Serbs charged with imprisoning and persecuting non-Serbs in and around the eastern town of Foca during the 1992-95 war.

Mitar Rasevic, 58, and Savo Todovic, 55, were charged with taking part in a joint criminal enterprise whose purpose was to imprison and keep in inhuman conditions non-Serbs from the town and surrounding area in Foca prison in 1992-94.

Todovic was deputy warden of the prison, which was used as a camp, and Rasevic supervised at least 37 guards, the indictment said.

Both men refused to enter pleas ahead of the trial, but Todovic told the court his defence would try to prove he did not commit the crimes he was indicted for.

Rasevic said, "I want to believe that this process will reveal the truth about what happened in and around the Foca prison."

They were transferred from the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague in October to stand trial at the court which was set up last year to try lower- and mid-level cases.

The U.N. tribunal has so far transferred seven suspects to the Bosnian court as part of its strategy to focus on the remaining top Balkan suspects before it closes in 2010. It said this week that it would transfer two more suspects to Bosnia.

Foca was the scene of some of the worst atrocities in the war that claimed more than 100,000 lives.




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