The District Court in Banja Luka has sentenced a former Bosnian Serb policeman to eight years of prison for the murder of three Bosniak civilians in August 1992.
According to the verdict, Mirko Popovic, while off duty and accompanied by three men wearing camouflage uniforms and balaclavas, entered the house of the Husedzinovic family in the village of Gradiska, on August 10, 1992.
There, the men encountered Aldo Husedzinovic, Ferid Cehajic and Resid Ajanovic who they beat up and took with a van to the river Sava where they killed them. Their bodies were discovered six days later.
The presiding judge, Vesna Stankovic-Cosovic, said that the prosecution has proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the crime was committed in the way it was described in the indictment.
“Based on witness testimonies, it has been established that at the time there was a difficult situation in Gradiska due to war circumstances. After the Croatian Army crossed the river Sava on August 8, 1992, 16 soldiers were killed and many wounded, which is why on the day of their funeral, on August 10, the situation was electrified in the town,” added Stankovic-Cosovic.
She said that some of the witnesses at the trial confirmed that Popovic committed the crime with two of his sons and another person.
The presiding judge said that the extenuating circumstances taken into account were that the defendant is an elderly family man, with no prior record of convictions, and that the crime was committed 20 years ago and during a war.
“The aggravating circumstances are that he killed in cold blood three young family men who were parents of two underage children and thus denying them the love of one parent,” said Stankovic-Cosovic.
There is a possibility of appealing this verdict.