News 17 Aug 17

Bosnian Serb Policemen’s War Crimes Convictions Upheld

Three Bosnian Serb ex-policemen were sentenced to a total of 23 years in prison for crimes against humanity in Bileca, while an ex-soldier was jailed for 14 years for the murders of Bosniaks in Bihac.

Emina Dizdarevic, Dragana Erjavec
BIRN
Sarajevo
The Bosnian state court. Photo: sudnih.gov.ba.

The Bosnian state court’s appeals chamber on Thursday upheld the convictions of former policemen Goran Vujovic, Miroslav Duka and Zeljko Ilic for taking part in the abuse and torture of Bosniak and Croat civilians at the police station in Bileca and at a student dormitory in the southern town in 1992.

According to the verdict, one of the prisoners died.

Vujovic, the former commander of the police’s public security station in the town, was sentenced to six years in prison. Duka, the commander of the local police station, was sentenced to 12 years, and Ilic to five years.

When the first instance verdict was handed down in July last year, presiding judge Minka Kreho said that it was proven without doubt that all the defendants had discriminatory intent.

The court found that there was a widespread and systematic attack by the Bosnian Serb Army, police and paramilitary units on the civilian population of Bileca.

“The witnesses described examples of mass arrests,” said Kreho.

Also on Thursday, the state court’s appeals chamber upheld the conviction of former Bosnian Serb Army serviceman Sasa Curguz.

Curguz was jailed for 14 years for his involvement in the murders of at least 11 Bosniak prisoners in the Bihac municipality in 1992.

However the appeals chamber partially accepted his appeal and reduced his sentence from 15 to 14 years in prison.

Curguz was found guilty of participating in the murders of at least 11 prisoners from the village of Ripac in the Bihac municipality, and of inhumanely treating Bosniak detainees.

According to the verdict, Curguz and six other Bosnian Serb soldiers arrived at the IMT tractor repair service in Ripac, where at least 55 captured Bosniak men were being held in the summer of 1992.

The prisoners were put on a truck and transported to the edge of the Bezdana pit in the nearby village of Hrgar.

One soldier immediately killed at least three prisoners, then two others threw the bodies into the pit, on the instructions of Curguz, who also personally killed several prisoners.

An exhumation was carried out at the Bezdana pit in 1997, when 83 bodies were found and 65 of them subsequently identified.

Curguz was also convicted of the inhumane treatment of five civilians who were detained at the tractor repair service in the summer of 1992.

Both verdicts are final and cannot be appealed.

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