The Bosnian army and its Mujahedins

14 March 2005 by HEIKELINA VERRIJN STUART

The big event was the opening on 9 March of the special war crimes chamber in Sarajevo. But a week earlier the Bosnian media was buzzing with shocked reactions to the indictment and departure to The Hague of the retired Bosnian general, Rasim Delic. The outcry caused by the surrender of Delic, who is seen as a "war hero", raises questions over whether the Bosnian environment is mature enough to ensure a fair trial for defendants on all sides of the conflict in former Yugoslavia, especially Bosnian Muslims.

After the death in 2003 of the Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia publicly announced that he had been under investigation by the prosecution in The Hague. Despite this, the indictment and surrender of Delic, the wartime chief of staff of the Bosnian army, appeared to come as a surprise to many Bosnians, who see themselves as victims rather than perpetrators of crimes.

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