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Bosnia war crimes court convicts, sentences first prisoner

[JURIST] The War Crimes Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina [HRW backgrounder] on Friday found Nedjo Samardzic guilty [press release] of committing crimes against humanity and escaping from prison during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and sentenced him to 13 years imprisonment. Samardzic, a Bosnian Serb army leader and convicted murderer who escaped prison in 1992 to join the army, was accused of detaining, torturing, and raping civilians [indictment, PDF; case backgrounder].

Samardzic is the first prisoner to be sentenced by the War Crimes Chamber, which was created in 2005 to relieve the backlog of cases at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] and eventually assume responsibility for local war crimes prosecution. In February, the War Crimes Chamber ordered the release [JURIST report] of war criminal Dragomir Abazovic due to an insufficient warrant. Reuters has more.

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