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Bosnia: Muslim leader causes outrage by denying war crimes

last update: February 13, 17:24

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Sarajevo, 13 Feb. (AKI) - Bosnian Muslim spiritual leader Reiss Ul-Ulema Mustafa Ceric sparked outrage by calling for an Islamic awakening and denying that Muslim crimes against Serbs in 1992-1995 war ever occured. He also a Muslim awakening.

Preaching in a local mosque, Ceric protested the arrest of eight Muslims accused of torturing more than 600 Serbs in a detention camp “Silos” in the town of Hadzici near Sarajevo, 24 of who were killed.

“Wake up my people, and don’t wait until one by one is lead away and then we realize that we should have defended the rights of our brothers to preserve our own freedom and rights,” Ceric said.

“In democratic, European civilization of this century it is absolutely unacceptable that Muslim religious leader in Bosnia calls for mobilization of believers of Hadzici region to set free the suspects for crimes against Serbs in ‘Silos’,” said a Bosnian Serb leader Rajko Vasic.

“I think Ceric is the greatest evil that has happened to Bosniac (Muslim) people,” said Aleksandra Pandurovic, a Serbian MP in Bosnian parliament. “He’s torn by internal hatred,” she added.

Ceric demanded that eight suspects should be set free to defend themselves. “If there is a proof of crimes in the ‘Silos’, why is there so much nervousness and panic,” he asked.

The International Court of Justice has ruled that Bosnian Serb forces had committed genocide against majority Muslims in the war. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has indicted 161 individuals, mostly Serbs, for war crimes and more than 60 have been sentenced to over 1,000 years in jail.

As the tribunal plans to close down by 2014, the remaining cases have been turned over to local courts. Serbian courts have over the past several years sentenced scores of former paramilitaries for war crimes.

But Bosnian Serbs, the second biggest ethnic group, have complained that local courts have been prosecuting only Serbs, while ignoring crimes committed by Muslims in the war that followed the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.

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