Elfeta Veseli

22.06.2017 ( Last modified: 10.05.2019 )
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Facts

Elfeta Veseli, alias Kosovka, was born in 1960 in the community of Uroševac in the former Republic of Serbia, an area that is now part of Kosovo.

Living in Bosnia at the beginning of the conflict, in 1992 she became a member of the Sabotage Squad of the Bosnian Army’s Liplje-Kamenica Joint Units, under the command of Naser Oric

Veseli was  accused of having murdered Slobodan Stojanovic, a 12–year-old boy, ethnic Serb, in the area of Kamenica in the municipality of Zvornik, in summer 1992.

In July 1992, Stojanovic and his parents fled their home due to the advance of the Bosniak armed forces. On 27 July 1992, Stojanovic returned to Kamenica for his pet dog which remained at Stojanovic’s home. It was then that Veseli allegedly killed Stojanovic in a particularly cruel manner. The crime has allegedly occurred in front of the Sabotage Squad commander, Sakib Halilovic.

In June 1993, Stojanovic’s body was discovered. According to the autopsy report, dated 14 June 1993, his stomach was mutilated and cross-shaped, his right ear was cut off. The cause of his death was a bullet shot in his head at close range.

After the war Veseli moved to Italy and then to Switzerland.

Legal Procedure

On 13 November 2015, the Bosnian authorities issued an extradition request to the Swiss authorities concerning Veseli as well as Oric and Bosnian Army soldier Sabahudin Muhic who were charged with killing of three Bosnian Serb prisoners of war in the villages of Zalazje, Lolici and Kunjerac in 1992. Oric himself was acquitted of war crimes charges by the ICTY in 2008 as well as by the appeals chamber of Bosnia’s war crimes court in 2018.

On 20 September 2016, Veseli was arrested in the canton of Neuchatel in Switzerland and placed under pre-trial detention in Geneva pending extradition to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The following day Veseli challenged the extradition decision.

On 15 March 2017, the Office of the Prosecutor of Bosnia and Herzegovina received information that the Swiss authorities have authorised Veseli’s extradition.

On 24 March 2017, Veseli was handed over to the Bosnian authorities at the international airport of Sarajevo. On 19 May 2017, she was charged with war crimes committed in the region of Zvornik in 1992.

The case has been transmitted to the Cour of Bosnia and Herzegovina for confirmation of the indictment. On 8 June 2017 the indictment of Veseli was confirmed.

On 8 May 2019, Veseli was sentenced by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina to 10 years of imprisonment for killing of Slobodan Stojanovic. The judgment may be appealed.

Sakib Halilovic, Veseli’s superior who was allegedly present during the killing was accused of not having prevented the murder and of failing to take appropriate measure to punish Veseli’s crime afterwards. On 8 May 2019, Halalovic was acquitted since his command responsibility could not be established.

Highlights

Veseli is now one of about ten women sentenced for the crimes committed during the Bosnian war, about 20 are still under investigation. Several hundred men have been convicted of war crimes in this context.