The Bosnian Prosecutor's Office on Thursday indicted Zdravko Samardzija, a former Bosnian Serb special police commander, for war crimes against Croats and Bosniaks in the Kotor Varos area.
During the 1992-95 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Samardzija commanded a unit which took part in an operation aimed at driving out the entire Croat and Bosniak population from the town of Kotor Varos and neighbouring villages.
The indictment covers the unlawful detention and persecution of hundreds of persons and the execution of dozens at various locations, including children and older persons.
Samardzija is also accused of severe physical and mental abuse, the destruction of expelled civilians’ properties, and the destruction and plunder of 16 mosques, Catholic churches and other sacral buildings, some of which were protected cultural monuments.
Samardzija is also accused of crimes against humanity.
In attacks and persecutions from June to November 1992, more than 300 non-Serb civilians in the area were killed, including 174 Croats. The Kotor Varos Municipality’s Croat population of more than 13,000 was entirely destroyed. The Catholic Church in the town of Kotor Varos was set on fire in July 1992 and a month later the Serb army and police mined its two towers.