The Bosnian state court where a Serb woman has been charged with the Vlasenica Massacre
Visnja Acimovic, otherwise known as Beba, was brought to trial charged with the murder of 37 Muslim Bosnian war prisoners in June 1992. “The defendant is charged with having shot the victims with firearms while they were standing just a few metres away from the bus.”
She has also reportedly been prosecuted for going against the International Humanitarian Law (IHL), as a result of breaching the Geneva Convention (1929); officially known as the Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Geneva July 27, 1929, said a prosecutor in a statement.
The IHL, otherwise known as the law of war, aims “to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare” according to The International Committee of the Red Cross; this includes prisoners of war.
According to Article 13 of The Geneva Convention, the power holding the detained prisoners in their custody are responsible for ensuring the protection of the prisoners of war “particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity”, something that they were unable to do in the case of the group of Muslim prisoners.
The bodies were only discovered and “exhumed” in 2000 where the victims were killed in the eastern municipality of Vlasenica, and the murderer just charged in January 2017.
The convict, now 44 years old, was at the time of the murder “consciously and willingly” committing the crime, stated the prosecution. Acimovic was not unaccompanied in her crime. Her accomplice was said to have been a soldier, however, no links have been made between Acimovic and the military.
Like some of the other women who have been accused of murder during the Bosnian war, Acimovic has a dual Bosnian and Serbian nationality and currently lives in Serbia where she was questioned, Boris Grubesic, a prosecution spokesperson told Reuters.
The Bosnian war that lasted for a number of years, from 1992 to 1995, resulted in a catastrophic massacre where over 100,000 people were killed. It is said that 80% of the victims were Bosniaks (native Bosnians and Herzegovinians, typically Muslims). The war officially ended with the signing of a peace treaty in mid-December 1995 called the Dayton Accords.