The trial has begun in The Hague of a top Bosnian Muslim army commander accused of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia. The prosecution had been trying to get Rasim Delic’s trial moved to Sarajevo, as the UN’s War Crimes Tribunal is under pressure to end its work by 2010, and was seeking to limit the number of witnesses.
However that request has been denied. Delic must now seek to disprove allegations that he knew some of his soldiers, particularly foreign volunteers, were using rape, murder, and torture as weapons of war, and did nothing to prevent or punish them.
Very few members of the Bosnian high command have faced prosecution at The Hague, where the majority of defendants have been Serb or Croatian. One former commander, Sefer Halilovic, was acquitted two years ago, and another two are waiting for their appeals against guilty verdicts to begin. Delic is pleading not guilty to the accusations. He insists he was several steps away, in the chain of command, from the events in question.