Reuters, April 12, 2001
Police officers charged over Bosnia violence
SARAJEVO (Reuters) -
Two Croat police chiefs have been charged for failing to quell last week's violence in which 24 peacekeepers were injured, the Interior Ministry of Bosnia's Muslim-Croat region has said.
The violence erupted in the southern towns of Mostar and Grude after local and international officials supported by NATO-led peacekeepers tried to take over a bank believed to be financing a month-old campaign for Croat self-rule.
It was the worst violence in years in Bosnia -- whose Muslim, Serb and Croat ethnic communities have lived uneasily since the end of the 1992-95 war -- and the biggest challenge yet to efforts to heal their divisions.
The two cantonal police chiefs, Dragan Mandic and Vinko Culjak, "obviously acted dishonestly while exercising their duties and powers", a statement from the Muslim-Croat federation Interior Ministry said.
The statement said the two failed to use police reinforcements to quell the "attack of an aggressive and armed large group of citizens".
Western peace officials said one local investigator was badly injured by flying glass in the headquarters of the Hercegovacka Banka in Mostar after a rioter fired a gun.
At least half a dozen vehicles belonging to international officials or peacekeepers were set on fire, in some cases while local police, who sympathise with separatists, stood by.
On Saturday, a Croat policeman in Grude boasted that police helped orchestrate the riots.
"Nothing happens here by accident, Everything's controlled. We can bring people in to yell, than calm them down and take them out," he told Reuters.
The Interior Ministry said it would continue the investigation together with local police and international officials "with the aim of identification and apprehension of all organisers and participants in the mentioned incidents".