News 14 Jun 17

Bosnia Jails Ex-Policemen for Livno Prisoner Abuses

Former Croatian Defence Council military policemen Muamir Jasarevic and Sead Velagic were jailed for a total of two and a half years for abusing civilian detainees in the Bosnian town of Livno during wartime.

Dzana Brkanic
BIRN
Sarajevo
Supporters of acquitted defendant Zdenko Andabak outside court. Photo: BIRN.

The Bosnian state court on Wednesday sentenced Muamir Jasarevic to one and a half years in jail for being a perpetrator and accomplice in the inhumane treatment of two detainees at the Ivan Goran Kovacic school in Livno in August 1992 as well as the torture of another detainee, and Sead Velagic to a year in jail as an accomplice in the inhumane treatment of the two detainees.

A third defendant, Zdenko Andabak, was acquitted.

“Although the prosecution charged Jasarevic and Velegic with crimes against humanity, the chamber considers that… Velagic and Jasarevic committed war crimes against the civilian population, violating the international laws and conventions on the protection of a certain category of people during the war,” said presiding judge Zoran Bozic.

“On an undetermined date in August 1992, Muamir Jasarevic took prisoner Slobodan Vujicic from the hall into an office, gave him a piece of paper and requested him to write down everything about the Serb Democratic Party. The injured party did not write anything, explaining he did not know what to write. Jasarevic then hit him in the face with the palm of his hand, knocking Vujicic down,” Bozic said.

Velagic was found guilty of inhumane treatment, acting as an accomplice, by hitting prisoner Jovo Erceg twice and slapping prisoner Cedomir Oljaca in the face.

The court found that victims Slobodan Vujicic and Zivko Zdero were not tortured, as the prosecution alleged, but that another victim, Marko Vulic, was tortured with electric shocks.

It also ruled that it had not been proved that Jasarevic, Andabak and Velagic participated in a joint criminal enterprise.

According to the verdict, no widespread and systematic attack on the Serb population happened in Livno; it ruled instead that there was a conflict between the Croatian Defence Council and the Bosnian Serb Army.

The court also said that it had not been proved that Andabak and Jasarevic had command roles and function, as the indictment alleged.

“Therefore, they could not be held responsible for crimes committed by other military policemen,” Bozic said.

Jasarevic and Andabak were acquitted of having command responsibility for crimes including the murders of 12 men from Croatia and another victim called Milun Bajilo.

“The prosecution did not present any pieces of evidence concerning the murder of those people,” Bozic said.

He said there were no aggravating circumstances to take into account regarding Jasarevic and Velagic.

The fact that they were family men who had not been convicted before and that they expressed remorse for the victims were taken into account as mitigating circumstances.

Under the first instance verdict, the defendants have been exempted from paying the costs of the trial, while the injured parties have been advised to file civil lawsuits.

The verdict can be appealed.

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