June 25, 2018 / 11:53 AM / a month ago

France hands over war crimes suspect to Bosnia

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - An ex-Bosnian Serb soldier suspected of taking part in an operation in which 57 Muslim Bosniaks were burned alive in the country’s 1992-95 war appeared in court on Monday after being extradited from France, the Bosnian prosecutor’s office said.

Radomir Susnjar, 63, also known as Lalco, is charged also with robbery and illegal detention of civilians near the eastern town of Visegrad in 1992, the office said.

The group of 57 Bosniak Muslims are alleged to have been seized in the village of Koritnik and were later burned alive in a house that was set ablaze with an accelerant and explosives.

Susnjar and other Bosnian Serb Army troops and members of paramilitary groups also opened fire at the house to prevent the civilians from fleeing, the Bosnian prosecutor’s office, who sought his extradition, said in a statement.

Susnjar lived in France for many years before being tracked down, the office said.

Bosnian Serbs Milan and Sredoje Lukic were sentenced by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to life and 27 years in prison in 2012 for the same crimes.

Bosnian Serb forces, helped by the now-defunct Serb-dominated Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) and Serbian paramilitaries, committed the worst atrocities against Muslim Bosniaks in eastern Bosnia early in the conflict as part of their bid to create exclusively Serb territories.

Around 100,000 people died in the 1992-95 war, a large majority of them Bosniaks.

The ICTY, set up in The Hague to prosecute atrocities committed during the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, closed its doors last December, having tried 161 suspects.

Reporting by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Aleksandar Vasovic and Richard Balmforth

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