The Bihac Cantonal court sentenced five men to a total of 56.5 years in prison for crimes against civilians.
On Thursday, the court ruled that the accused five former members of the Republika Srpska Army and police were guilty of murdering 25 Bosniak civilians in the villages of Duljci and Orasac in September 1992.
Jovica and Zoran Tadic were sentenced to 12 years each, while Zoran Berga and Zeljko Babic were both given sentences of 11 years. Goran Mihajlovic will serve 10.5 years in prison.
The Cantonal Court accepted an agreement struck between the prosecutor for the Una-Sana Canton and the five indictees, who pleaded guilty on all charges and pledged cooperation on other cases in exchange for shorter sentences.
The admissions of guilt constitute a dramatic change from last month, when the five men pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Jovica and Zoran Tadic, Zoran Berga, Zeljko Babic and Goran Mihajlovic expressed regret for the crimes they committed nearly 20 years ago. They added that they were willing to cooperate with the judicial bodies even after the sentences, in order to help shed light on other crimes committed in Ljutoc Valley.
“This verdict is very important for prosecutors' offices not only in Bihac, but across the entire Bosnia and Herzegovina. We now have five new witnesses, who will play a very important role in identifying war crime suspects, who have still not been put on trial,” Cantonal prosecutor Jasmin Mesic said.
Mesic said that two more persons, who are currently at large and outside the jurisdiction of the Bosnian courts, had also participated in the same events.
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