As the retrial of former Bosnian Army Third Corps commander Sakib Mahmuljin comes to an end, the prosecution called for him to be jailed for failing to stop Islamic volunteer fighters torturing and killing Serb prisoners.

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Punishment Urged for Wartime Bosnian Army Commander

Sakib Mahmuljin. Photo: BIRN.

In closing arguments at the retrial of Sakib Mahmuljin at the Bosnian state court on Tuesday, prosecutor Mladen Vukojicic said that the wartime Bosnian Army Third Corps commander had failed to prevent members of the El Mujahideen unit, a detachment of Islamic fighters from Middle Eastern countries, from killing Serb military captives in 1995.

Vukojicic said that the evidence had shown that members of El Mujahideen unit killed several soldiers and “butchered two of them and held up and showed off their heads” and that on one occasion they were looking for non-Muslims on the frontline to “slaughter them”.

“[Mahmuljin] failed through the system of command and control to take measures to prevent such acts. It is evident that the commander tolerated such behaviour, which was shown by witness testimonies,” said the prosecutor, who called for a jail sentence for the defendant.

According to the charges, members of the El Mujahideen unit killed 55 captured Bosnian Serb Army soldiers in the Vozuca and Zavidovici areas from July to September 1995 and cut some of their heads off.

The El Mujahideen unit operated as part of the Bosnian Army’s Third Corps during the war, but Mahmuljin argued during his initial trial that he was not responsible for the crimes committed by the foreign fighters.

He was initially found guilty in January 2021 but the verdict was overturned in November last year.

The prosecutor said that during the Bosnian Army’s Farz 95 military operation, it was indisputable that members of the El Mujahideen unit kidnapped Bosnian Serb Army soldiers and three civilians from a battalion of the 328th Brigade of the Bosnian Army and took them to their base.

He added that there was sufficient evidence that Mahmuljin was informed about the abduction of the prisoners, and that they were being abused and killed.

The defence will present its closing arguments on April 5.

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