July 11, 2008

Norway enforces WAR CRIMES warrant

First war crimes trial in Norway since World War II

Rape, torture, illegal internment of civilians and crimes against humanity, are among the charges faced by a 41-year old Norwegian citizen, who came from Bosnia-Herzegovina as an asylum seeker in 1993.

Pål K. Lønseth (left) wants to show that Norway is no haven for war criminals. He and his colleague Jan Eirik Thomassen seen outside the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.


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According to the Director of Public Prosecutions, this is the first war crimes indictment in Norway since the aftermath of World War Two.

A large number of witnesses will be flown in from Bosnia and other countries.

"Norway has been considered by some to be a safe haven for war criminals. This indictment should indicate that this is not the case," says Pål K. Lønseth, one of the prosecutors in the case. "We can expect many more such cases in the years to come," adds Lønseth.

The charges relate to the treatment of 18 civilian Bosnian Serbs in 1992. The accused is a muslim who was active in the Croat HOS military organisation, which fought against Serb military forces.

The indictment gives detailed accounts of kicking and beatings, prodding with needles and psychological mistreatment. Two of the women were said to have been repeatedly raped by soldiers. Victims were forced to drink their own urin and were exposed to mock executions. Food was scarce and the prisoners were made to sleep on concrete floors.

The 41-year old came to Norway with his family in 1993. He applied for and was granted asylum. In 2001 he became a Norwegian citizen. The trial starts in Oslo at the end of August.

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