News 04 Jul 14

Bosnian Serb Camp Warden Jailed for Prisoner Abuse

Former warden Branko Vlaco was sentenced to 15 years in jail for crimes against humanity for abusing non-Serb prisoners at detention camps in Vogosca near Sarajevo in 1992.

Justice Report
Branko Vlaco in court.

The Bosnian state court on Friday ruled that Vlaco was involved in a series of abuses of Bosniak and Croat civilian prisoners who were held at detention camps in the Sarajevo municipalities of Vogosca, Ilijas and Centre from May to October 1992.

It ruled that he took part in a wide-ranging and systematic attack by Bosnian Serb forces which involved the persecution of non-Serb civilians who were illegally detained in the Planjina Kuca, Nakina Garaza and Bunker camps.

Vlaco was found guilty of creating the Bunker camp, in which civilians were held in inhumane conditions, forced to sleep on concrete and use a bucket as a toilet. One woman was held with the men in the Bunker, the judges found.

Presiding judge Minka Kreho said that prisoners were forced to do hard labour and used as human shields, and many of them did not survive.

Kreho said that Vlaco that personally abused one prisoner at the Kon-tiki detention camp, and allowed guards to abuse three others. He also forced two prisoners to have sex with each other, which permanently damaged their mental health.

Vlaco was further found guilty of abusing prisoners at the Planjina Kuca and Nakina Garaza camps.

The judges said they did not find any mitigating circumstances.

Vlaco was however acquitted of four counts of the indictment, which relate to forcing prisoners to remove a bomb from one prison camp and throwing tear gas into the Bunker.

Judge Kreho also said that the Bosnian prosecution did not prove that Vlaco was a member of any joint criminal enterprise.

The verdict can be appealed.

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