SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina –
Bosnian police on Tuesday arrested five people suspected of participating in a July 1995 genocide in Srebrenica, a town where Bosnian Serb troops killed over 8,000 men and boys during the Balkan country’s interethnic war.
Officers also conducted searches and confiscations during their operation in several towns in Republika Srpska, a Serb-run entity comprising roughly one-half of Bosnia’s territory, said a statement by Bosnia’s State Investigation and Protection Agency.
The statement gave no other details. Bosnian news portal Klix said the people arrested were former Bosnian Serb army officers and soldiers who allegedly helped capture and kill around 70 men and boys and one women during the Srebrenica massacre.
Most of the slaughter’s thousands of victims were Bosniaks, a majority Muslim ethnic group. Two U.N. courts have declared the brutal executions in the late days of Bosnia’s 1992-95 war as an act of genocide. Bosnian Serbs, however, have refused to acknowledge the scope of the crime.
Though decades have passed since the massacre, the remains of victims still are unearthed from mass graves around Srebrenica. Bosnian Serb troops moved the bodies in the aftermath of the killings to try to hide the atrocity.
Bosnia’s conflict ended in a U.S.-brokered peace agreement in late 1995, which created two entities: Republika Srpska, the Serb-dominated one, and a Bosniak-Croat one. Bosnia’s two autonomous regions are tied loosely by joint institutions.
Ethnic tensions and a drive by Serbs to separate from the joint state with Bosniaks and Croats continue to plague the country. Nationalist Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik has faced U.S. and British sanctions for his separatist policies, but he enjoys the support of Russia, fuelling Western fears of instability.