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ICTY appeals chamber upholds 20-year jail term for former Bosnian Croat soldier

[JURIST] The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website] Monday upheld [ICTY press release] the 20-year prison sentence of former Bosnian Croat soldier Miroslav Bralo [ICTY case backgrounder], dismissing Bralo's appeal alleging the trial chamber failed to consider relevant facts. In its decision [text, PDF; summary], the Appeals Chamber held that Bralo was only repeating the same arguments already made at trial and thus failed to show that the Trial Chamber had made any discernible error.

Bralo was sentenced in 2005 to 20 years' imprisonment after pleading guilty [JURIST reports] to murder, rape and torture charges stemming from the 1993 Bosnian war [Wikipedia backgrounder]. He initially pleaded not guilty [JURIST report], but later changed his plea [plea agreement, PDF]. ICTY Judge Iain Bonomy [UN profile] said this move, along with Bralo's remorse and voluntary surrender to the war crimes tribunal, served as a mitigating factor reducing Bralo's sentence from a possible 25 years. Bralo belonged to a special Bosnian Croat force known as the Jokers that attacked Muslim villages in central Bosnia during the 1993 conflict and subsequently imprisoned and tortured civilians. AP has more.

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