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Bosnia war crimes court sentences Serb police for killing Muslim civilians

The war crimes court [official website] of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on Tuesday convicted four former Bosnian Serb policemen [press release, in Croatian] of killing at least 150 civilians during the 1992-1995 Bosnian civil war [JURIST news archive]. The court sentenced Dusan Jankovic to 27 years, Zoran Babic and Milorad Skrbic to 22 years, and Zeljko Stojnic to 15 years in prison. A fifth suspect, Milorad Radakovic, was acquitted for lack of evidence. The defendants were indicted [JURIST report] last January, accused of taking part in the August 21, 1992, massacre of at least 150 Muslims and Croat civilians as part of an ethnic cleansing on Mount Vlasic. The prisoners, who were told they were being released, were taken to the woods and forced to kneel at the edge of a ravine where they were then shot. Three other defendants were previously jailed in connection with the massacre after pleading guilty. In 2004, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] sentenced [judgment, PDF] former Bosnian Serb "Intervention Squad" officer Darko Mrdja [ICTY backgrounder, PDF] to 17 years in prison for his role in the killings.

The BiH war crimes court was established in 2005 to assist with the ICTY caseload. Last month, a suspected war criminal was arrested [JURIST report] in connection with the 1995 Srebrenica massacre during the end of the Bosnian civil war. The Prosecutors Office for BiH [official website] announced that Dragan Crnogorac was arrested on suspicion for having committed genocide under Article 171 of the BiH criminal code [text, PDF]. In August, Spanish officials extradited accused Montenegrin war criminal [JURIST report] Veselin Vlahovic, known as the "monster of Grbavica," to Sarajevo. He is wanted on three international arrest warrants, including one for the rape, torture and murder of more than 100 women and children and is expected to face genocide charges before the country's war war crimes court. Also in August, the court issued genocide charges [JURIST report] against four former Bosnian Serb soldiers in connection with the Srebrenica massacr, alleging that they were all members of the 10th Sabotage Detachment in the army of Republika Srpska. They are accused of participating in the murder of more than 800 Bosnian Muslims during the massacre. In April, the court convicted two men of genocide [JURIST report], Radomir Vukovic and Zoran Tomic, for their roles in the Srebrenica massacre and sentenced each to 31 years imprisonment.

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