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Bosnia top judge says escaped war criminal threat to judges, prosecutors

[JURIST] A convicted Bosnian Serb war criminal who escaped from prison presents a threat to the security and judges of the War Crimes Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina [official website; HRW backgrounder; JURIST news archive] Meddzida Kreso, president of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said Tuesday. Radovan Stankovic [case backgrounder; ICTY indictment, PDF], the first Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect transferred [JURIST report] from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website; JURIST news archive] to the Bosnian court in 2005, escaped from the Foca prison last Friday. Kreso said that Stankovic sent death threats to court judges and prosecutors during his trial.

Stankovic was sentenced to 20 years [press release] for crimes against humanity for committing serial rape, enslavement, and torture of civilians for his role in the enslavement of nine Muslim women in 1992. Stankovic's escape is the latest blow to the creditability of Bosnia and Herzegovina's efforts to prosecute war criminals. Another convicted war criminal, Bosnian Croat Ante Jelavic, sentenced to 10-years in prison [JURIST report] in October 2005, remains a fugitive after skipping bail and is believed to be hiding in Croatia. Reuters has more.

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