The arrest of Bosnian wartime general Ramiz Drekovic is a “futile attempt to equalise the victims and the aggressors,” according to a Wednesday press release by the Party for Democratic Action (SDA), the main Bosniak ethnic-oriented party in the country.
State Police have on Wednesday morning arrested wartime Bosnian general Ramiz Drekovic on war crimes charges saying that he ordered the shelling of a Bosnian Serb majority town in 1995.
The former Fourth Corps commander of the Bosnian Army has allegedly ordered artillery units to shell the Bosnian Serb majority town in 1995, and with that breached the Geneva Convention on Protection of Civilians, the Prosecutor’s Office said.
Apart from allegedly causing the death of a 15-year-old, the shelling severely injured several persons and children, prosecutors said.
Drekovic’s lawyers, Kadrija Kolic and Mirsad Crnovrsanin, criticised the arrest, saying that had prosecutors asked Drekovic to come in and give a statement, he would have done so.
The arrest was illegal, said Kolic.
“He was arrested because the Bosnian Prosecutor’s Office believes there is a danger that he might escape to Serbia,” he said, calling such a concern “complete nonsense.”
Prosecutors should have first checked whether Drekovic has valid Serbian documents, which his lawyer said he does not, as he has allegedly not spent any time in Serbia since 1990.
The SDA also condemned the arrest, saying “it can be interpreted only as an intention to humiliate defenders of Bosnia and Herzegovina further.”
“The SDA is firmly committed to the processing of all war crimes, but also to an independent judiciary, and it is more than obvious that the Bosnian Prosecutor’s Office has caved in to political pressure and that there is an ongoing campaign aimed against defenders of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” the SDA said in the statement.
“It is unacceptable that, with the creation of an artificial balance in processing war crimes, there is an attempt to equalise the aggressor and the victim,” it said.
The number of crimes committed by those who attacked Bosnia is “incomparably higher” than the number of crimes committed by “individuals within the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” the party alleged.
“We trust that general Drekovic is innocent, and we are convinced that this will, in the end, be proven, as was the case in many earlier cases,” the SDA said.