The trial of Milan and Sredoje Lukic, for some of the most brutal crimes committed in Visegrad in 1992, is scheduled to begin on 9 July 2008. The prosecution has obtained new evidence and now wants to amend the indictment to include the rape charge

Milan Lukic in the courtroomMilan Lukic in the courtroom

The trial of Milan and Sredoje Lukic, charged with crimes committed in 1992 in Visegrad, will start on 9 July 2008 with the opening statement of the prosecution. The prosecution will call its first witnesses on 10 and 11 July, pre-trial judge Krister Thelin announced at the status conference today.

A pre-trial conference is scheduled for 2 July 2008, but it is likely to take place seven days later, before the opening statement delivered by the prosecutor Dermot Groome, since Jason Alarid, a US attorney representing former White Eagles commander, Milan Lukic, has other business to attend to.

In the meantime the prosecution has sought leave to amend the indictment against Milan and Sredoje Lukic to include the charges of rape and sexual enslavement. New evidence has been obtained as the prosecution investigated the alibi defense of the two accused, the prosecutor clarified. Pretrial judge Thelin said that it would be more logical to reduce the scope of the indictment, not to broaden it, adding that the full Trial Chamber would rule on the prosecution motion.

[IMAGE]3481[/IMAGE]In the current indictment, Milan and Sredoje Lukic are charged with some of the most serious and brutal crimes committed against Bosniak civilians in Visegrad. According to the prosecution, in 1992 Milan Lukic formed the White Eagles, also known as the Avengers, a paramilitary unit, in Visegrad. His relative Sredoje Lukic, a police officer from Visegrad, joined the unit. The two of them, the indictment alleges, burned about 140 women, children and old men alive in two locations in Visegrad – in the Pionirska Street and in the Bikavac neighborhood. The victims took shelter in Visegrad after they were expelled from the Bosniak villages around it.

The two accused pleaded not guilty to all the counts in the indictment charging them with extermination, persecution, killing, beating, cruel treatment and other inhumane acts.