Seven Bosnian former soldiers arrested over wartime killings

Seven former soldiers of the Bosnian army were arrested on Friday, suspected of having killed 20 Bosnian Serb civilians during the country's 1992-95 war, the prosecutor's office said.

The seven are suspected of attacking a group of Serb civilians in eastern Bosnia, killing mostly women, children and elderly people fleeing fighting in the area, said a statement from the war crimes prosecutor's office.

The crime was described by the Bosnian prosecutor as "the worst wartime killing of Serbs in eastern Bosnia."

The inter-ethnic war in Bosnia claimed around 100,000 lives and led to some two million refugees and displaced people, almost half of the former Yugoslav republic's pre-war population.

Bosnia set up a war crimes prosecutor's office and court in 2005 to assist the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague by dealing with lower-level cases on a national basis.

So far, the local court has closed 110 cases, handing down several hundred guilty verdicts.

bur-an/boc