News 16 Feb 17

Bosnia Jails Fighter for Abusing Serb Prisoners

Former Croatian Defence Council fighter Almaz Nezirovic was sentenced to two years in prison for war crimes against Serb civilians who were abused in a detention camp in Derventa in 1992.

Dzana Brkanic
BIRN
Sarajevo
Almaz Nezirovic. Photo: BIRN.

The Bosnian state court on Thursday found Almaz Nezirovic guilty of the inhumane treatment of 22 Serb civilians detained at the Rabic detention camp in Derventa from the end of April 1992 to the end of June.

Nezirovic, a former member of the military police with the 103rd Derventa Brigade of the Croatian Defence Council, caused severe physical pain and mental suffering to the detained civilians, the court found.

The verdict said that Nezirovic hit the prisoners on their fingers and other parts pf their bodies with a baton on several occasions.

“On the basis of the evidence presented, the chamber has determined that the defendant was aware of his actions and developed a sense of domination, which he demonstrated against the injured parties, and committed those actions with direct premeditation,” the verdict said.

It said Nezirovic forced one prisoner to eat grass, and humiliated others by pouring away their food, which was scarce, into a drain which they used for urination and defecation.

“The prosecution has proved that the defendant, acting as an accomplice and perpetrator, treated civilians in an inhumane manner, but neither elements of torture nor actions that could be considered as giving orders have been proved,” said presiding judge Mediha Pasic.

Nezirovic was acquitted of the torture, abuse and humiliation of civilians who were transferred from the Rabic detention camp to the Silos detention camp and to a department store in Tulek in Bosanski Brod.

Due to his poor financial situation, Nezirovic was exempted from paying the costs of his trial, and the injured parties were advised to file a civil suit for damages.

The verdict can be appealed.

Nezirovic was extradited to Bosnia from the US in 2015. He was deported after the US government charged him with giving false information in his citizenship application and failing to admit that he was a member of Bosnian Croat forces.

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