Belgrade prosecutors and police officials working on an investigation into the wartime killings of Bosniaks said that they have been threatened by former Bosnian Serb fighters.
The Serbian war crimes prosecution said on Thursday that it had been warned of possible retribution from the ‘Visegrad’ former Bosnian Serb fighters’ union over its joint inquiry with Sarajevo prosecutors into the kidnapping and killing of 19 Bosniak civilians from a train in Strpci in February 1993.
The Serbian prosecution said it had received “threats that the veterans will organise themselves if this ‘filthy game’ is not stopped”.
The warnings were a clear indicator that some members of the former fighters’ union are scared of being held responsible for the killings, the prosecution said in a statement.
It also accused local media of “publishing misinformation about the alleged kidnapping of witnesses and their children during the night and illegal and unauthorised searches through Visegrad”.
The Strpci inquiry is one of only a handful of investigations in which the Serbian prosecutors have been exchanging evidence with their Bosnian counterparts, after the two institutions signed a protocol to cooperate in war crimes probes last year. So far, there have been no indictments as a result of the agreement.
Bosnian state prosecutors issued a statement in support of their Serbian counterparts on Thursday, condemning the alleged threats.
“The Bosnian state prosecution is intensively cooperatiing with the Serbian war crimes prosecution in this investigation and assisting our colleagues from Serbia in discovering facts about this kidnapping and murder war crime of Bosniak passengers, who were Serbian citizens, who were taken from a train in Strpci in 1993,” the statement said.
The Bosnian prosecutors said that cooperation in this and other cases would continue despite the threats.