Hard on the heels of a victory for human rights in the European Court yesterday, when it was confirmed that being a Christian does not excuse abusing others and denying them human rights, comes confirmation that war crimes, even when committed in the name of religion, are not to be accepted in civilised societies.
The War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague today handed down sentences of between 10 and 25 years to six Bosnian Croat Orthodox Christians who had been convicted of war crimes against Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) and others in the former Yugoslav republic of Croatia during a series of conflicts following the breakup of Yugoslavia. The plan had been to 'ethnically cleanse' a mini state in Croatia in preparation for its incorporation into a 'Greater Bosnia'.
Those convicted were:
- Jadranko Prlic - leader of the self-proclaimed state of Herceg-Bosna - 25 years in jail.
- Bruno Stojic - former defence minister of the breakaway Herceg-Bosna - 20 years.
- Slobodan Praljak - former militia head - 20 years.
- Milivoj Petkovic - former militia head - 20 years.
- Valentin Coric - former commander of Bosnian Croat military police - 16 years.
- Berislav Pusic - ex-head of prisoner exchanges and detention facilities - 10 years.
As BBC Reporter Anna Holligan reports:
The judges ruled that murders, persecutions, rape and torture of Muslims "were not committed in a random manner by a few undisciplined soldiers" but were part of the plan to remove Muslims from the self-proclaimed Herceg-Bosna state in 1993-94.The trial, which began in 2006, is the War Crimes Tribunal's longest running case. It represents yet another example of how religion is quickly losing its privileged position in Europe and abuses in its name will no longer be tolerated. The Humanist position, that all people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity by virtue of the simple fact that they are human beings, is quickly becoming the social norm and accepted as the only basis for a civilised society.
They also said it was a religiously-motivated campaign, describing how mosques were blown up and Muslim prisoners were forced to recite Christian prayers.
Referring to the forcible expulsion of the Muslim population from the eastern part of the city of Mostar, the panel said: "Muslims were woken up in the middle of the night, beaten and forced to leave their apartments, often still in their pyjamas. Many women, including a girl of 16, were raped by HVO (Croatian Defence Council) soldiers".
'via Blog this'