News 30 Mar 17

Bosnian Serb Soldier Jailed for Killing Bosniaks in Bihac

Former Bosnian Serb Army serviceman Sasa Curguz was jailed for 15 years for his involvement in the murders of at least 11 Bosniak prisoners in the Bihac municipality in 1992.

Dzana Brkanic
BIRN
Sarajevo
Sasa Curguz (seated) with his lawyer in court. Photo: Bosnian state court.

The Bosnian state court in Sarajevo on Thursday convicted Sasa Curguz of participating in the murders of at least 11 prisoners from the village of Ripac in the Bihac municipality, and of inhumanely treatment Bosniak detainees.

The verdict said that on an unspecified date between June 24 1992 and the end of July, 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.

The prisoners were put on 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.

“Then the accused ordered the other prisoners to gеt off the truck and to come to the pit, where he personally killed at least six civilians, which they then threw into the pit,” said presiding judge Mediha Pasic.

Another soldier the killed the other two prisoners, said Pasic.

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.

The verdict said that Curguz came to the building, where there were at least 42 civilians with their hands tied behind their backs, and then, along with other soldiers, cursed them and beat them.

“Sasa Curguz pointed a gun at [prisoner] Muhammad Anadolac, and then he kicked him in the chest and head, due to which his tooth broke,” the verdict said.

“He hit Ismet Mesic with a rifle butt in the face, which was spurting out blood,” it added.

Pasic said that the prosecution had proved beyond any reasonable doubt that there had been a widespread and systematic attack on the Bihac area and on Ripac, and that the defendant’s actions were part of that attack.

She said that he committed the crimes knowingly, with discriminatory intent and ruthlessness.

The fact that he committed the crimes against defenceless civilians was taken into account as an aggravating circumstance.

As a mitigating circumstances, the court took into account the fact that the Curguz was 20 years old at the time he committed the crime against humanity, that he is the father of two minors and that he had no previous criminal record.

The verdict can be appealed.

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