[JURIST] The war crimes court for Bosnia and Herzegovina [official website, in Bosnian] on Friday convicted a former paramilitary unit commander from Montenegro on multiple counts of murder, torture, rape and looting committed during the the civil war in the former Yugoslavia (1992-1995) and sentenced him to 45 years of imprisonment [press release, in Bosnian]. While fighting for the Bosnian Serbs, Veselin Vlahovic allegedly killed 31 people [AP report], raped countless Bosniak and Croat women and tortured and robbed non-Serbs in a Sarajevo suburb. This is the longest sentence [BBC report] ever issued by the Bosnian war crimes court. Vlahovic was acquitted on six counts that the court did not find were proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Vlahovic’s lawyer intended to appeal to the court’s decision.
In January, the same court sentenced a former Bosnian Serb police officer to 20 years in prison [JURIST report] for his role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre [HRW backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. In December, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) sentenced [JURIST report] a former Bosnian Serb army commander of genocide and crimes against humanity for his role in the massacre. BiH in particular has been continuously prosecuting, convicting and sentencing those responsible for the killings, and even those who left the country are being brought back to face charges. In December the BiH war crimes court acquitted two Serbian defendants [JURIST report] of involvement in the massacre. In June the court sentenced [JURIST report] four former Bosnian Serb soldiers for their involvement in the massacre. In May US resident Dejan Radojkovic was deported [JURIST report] to BiH to stand trial before the country’s court for his actions as a police commander in Srebrenica during the 1995 massacre. He was the second to be deported after his commanding officer, Nedjo Ikonic, was deported in 2010 [JURIST report]. A day earlier, the war crimes court convicted [JURIST report] Dusko Jevic and Mendeljev Djuric for taking part in the killing of 1,000 Muslim men during the massacre after it found that the two former Bosnian Serb police officers were guilty of aiding and abetting genocide.