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Bosnian War Crimes Tribunal Begins Trial of Serb Soldiers Accused of RapeAired March 20, 2000 - 2:35 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Did Bosnian Serbs use rape as a weapon during the Bosnian conflict? That's the question before the war crimes tribunal at The Hague in the Netherlands.
A criminal trial began there today for three former Bosnian Serb soldiers accused of systematically raping Muslim and Croat women and girls.
CNN's Patricia Kelly is covering the trial.
PATRICIA KELLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Women who will testify to having been raped by these men will be given code names in court for their own protection.
DIRK RYNEVELD, PROSECUTOR: Other individual indicted with these accused are still at large.
PAUL RISLEY, SPOKESMAN FOR THE PROSECUTOR: The charges that we have brought in this case are so extensive and the magnitude is so great that it's very hard for any responsible persons to believe in any way that this should be hushed up.
KELLY: All three defendants were born in the town of Foca in Bosnia, southeast of Sarajevo. Predominantly Muslim, the town fell to Bosnian Serb forces in 1992. It's alleged Muslim and Croat inhabitants were arrested and the men and women separated.
RYNEVELD: Women and children, some as I said earlier as young as 12 years old, in Foca were detained and raped -- vaginally, anally and orally -- subjected to gang rapes, forced to dance nude with weapons pointed at them, and even enslaved.
KELLY: Dragoljub Kunarac, according to the indictment, was the commander of a special Bosnian Serb army reconnaissance unit. It's alleged he raped and took part in gang rapes and allowed soldiers subordinate to him to sexually assault Muslim women.
RYNEVELD: You will hear in details from the victims when, where and how often the accused raped and sexually assaulted them.
KELLY: Charges against Zoran Vukovic includes the sexual abuse of 15- and 16-year-old girls. Prosecution evidence is graphically explicit.
RISLEY: The rapes with which he is accused and the detention of women of which he is accused were among the most violent and the most vicious.
KELLY: Radomir Kovac, also accused of rape, is alleged to have reduced women in captivity to slavery.
(on camera): Defense attorneys will deny the existence of detention centers for civilian women. They'll attempt to prove their clients were not part of the alleged widespread, planned and systematic wartime policy that used rape to terrorize the enemy. They'll claim alleged victims agreed to sexual intercourse.
Patricia Kelly, CNN, The Hague.
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