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Bosnia war crimes court sentences first suspect transferred from ICTY

[JURIST] Bosnia's national war crimes court sentenced [press release] a former Bosnian Serb soldier to 16 years in prison Tuesday in the first judgment handed down against a defendant transferred [ICTY press release] to Bosnia from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website] in The Hague. The War Crimes Chamber [JURIST report] of the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina [official website] convicted and sentenced Radovan Stankovic [State Court case backgrounder; BBC report] for rape, enslavement and torture for crimes committed in the Bosnian town of Foca from 1992 to 1995. Stankovic was charged [indictment, PDF] with running a detention house where women and mostly young girls were held so Serb soldiers could sexually assault them.

The ICTY has already convicted three former Bosnian Serb commanders for war crimes in Foca. Supporters of the decision to transfer Stankovic [JURIST report] say it bolsters the credibility of the Bosnian court system and helps to reduce the caseload of the ICTY, which is expected to wrap up its work in 2010. The ICTY said Tuesday that the judgment justifies the court's strategy [press release] of "transferring cases, expertise and know-how to the judiciaries in the region." Reuters has more.

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