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The siege of Sarajevo lasted nearly four years.

Bosnian war crimes prosecutors have launched an investigation after a video emerged of an alleged sniper taking shots during the almost four-year-long siege of Sarajevo in the 1990s.

The footage, posted by French journalist Philippe Buffon on YouTube this week, appeared to show Bosnian Serb fighters hiding in a house in the suburbs of Sarajevo.

One of them could be seen firing a sniper's rifle and boasting that he hit someone "in the head.”

Bosnia-Herzegovina’s prosecutor's office said in a statement that a case was opened “immediately” after the video appeared on the Internet.

The office said its Special Department for War Crimes will examine “all the circumstances and the role of all the people in the recording.”

The local telecommunications company Telemach BH said it had contacted prosecutors after one of its employees was recognized in the video. It said the employee had been suspended.

The YouTube video, titled The Snipers Of Nedzarici, after a Sarajevo neighborhood, was no longer available on the video-sharing platform on May 21.

The footage was distributed on social networks and broadcast on local television, causing a stir in the Bosnian capital, where more than 11,000 people were killed in the siege by Bosnian Serb forces.

Separately on May 21, Bosnia's top court indicted eight Serb ex-soldiers on charges of crimes against humanity for their alleged involvement in the killing of 78 Bosnian Muslim civilians during the 1992-95 war.

Prosecutors accuse the former soldiers of "persecuting the Bosniak civilian population based on national, ethnic, and religious grounds with discriminatory intention, and of killing civilians in violation of the international law."

They say the eight Bosnian Serbs had driven Bosniak civilians out of a school in the western village of Velagici, lined them up, and shot dead at least 78 people in June 1992.

There were no comments from the suspects or their representatives. Some are now believed to be in Serbia.

Hundreds of people have been convicted of crimes committed during the Bosnian War in which more than 100,000 people were killed.

Local judiciary officials are still examining some 600 cases involving 4,500 suspects, according to official data.

The conflict ended in a U.S.-brokered peace agreement in 1995 that divided Bosnia into two entities -- the Muslim and Croat federation and Republika Srpska -- held together by joint central institutions.

With reporting by AFP and RFE/RL’s Balkan Service
Police have launched a probe into Tut.by, the country's largest independent online media outlet.

Journalist Artsyom Mayorau has been sentenced to 15 days in jail for "petty hooliganism" after he reported on a police raid at the popular news site Tut.by.

Mayorau, who works for the Belarusians And The Market newspaper, was sentenced by the Moskovsky District Court in Minsk on May 21.

A police report said that a policeman allegedly approached Mayorau to have a "preventive conversation" with the journalist, when he "started swearing and waving his arms."

Belarusian authorities have launched a severe crackdown on independent journalists in the country as they look to silence reporters from covering a wave of dissent sparked by a disputed presidential election last August that handed authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka his sixth consecutive term in power.

Mayorau was reporting when financial police launched a probe into Tut.by, the country's largest independent online media outlet, and raided its offices and the homes of some of its staff saying it violated media laws by publishing content on behalf of BYSOL, a foundation that helps victims of political repression but lacks proper state registration.

Fourteen Tut.by staff members and workers from companies affiliated with the site remain in custody following the raids. The widow of Tut.by founder Yury Zisser, Yuliya Charnyauskaya, has been put under house arrest.

The United States, human rights groups, and media freedom watchdogs have denounced the move against Tut.by.

Calling the case against Tut.by “a new attempt to silence the most well-known independent media in Belarus,” Christophe Deloire, executive director of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), has urged the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to “ensure respect for the right to the freedom to inform" in the country.

Tens of thousands of people in Belarus have been swept up in the crackdown. Protesters say the election was rigged in favor of Lukashenka, who has ruled Belarus since 1994.

Dozens of reporters have been temporarily detained or jailed over the ensuing nine months.

Following the presidential election, "dozens of sociopolitical and media sites were blocked in Belarus, and a number of print outlets were forced to stop publishing," according to the Belarusian Association of Journalists.

As of May 18, 16 journalists and other media workers were behind bars, it said.

Lukashenka has insisted he won the August 9, 2020 election and has refused to negotiate with the opposition.

Opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who insists she won the vote, says she was forced to leave Belarus for Lithuania a day after the election amid threats to herself and her family.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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