Bosnia court jails four ethnic Serbs for warcrimes

Bosnia's war crimes court on Tuesday sentenced an ethnic Serb former soldier to 29 years in jail and two others to 21 years each for the killing of 23 Muslim civilians early in the country's 1992-95 war.

Bosnia court jails four ethnic Serbs for warcrimes

The court found Mirko Pekez, a second man also named Mirko Pekez and Milorad Savic guilty of the shooting in cold blood of unarmed men, women and children near the western town of Jajce in September 1992.

The trio forced the group, among them 10 women, a small child and three minors, out of their homes and "ordered them to line up next to the edge of a cliff and started firing bursts at them, killing 23 and wounding 4 persons," the court said.

In a separate verdict on Tuesday, the court jailed for nine years Dusan Fustar, one of four Bosnian Serbs charged with the persecution, killing, imprisonment and rape of non-Serbs in the notorious Keraterm detention camp in northwestern Bosnia.

Fustar's case was tried separately from other defendants on the same charges after he pleaded guilty, the first such plea-bargain agreement struck at the court.

The former mechanic, who worked as a shift commander at the camp near the town of Prijedor, surrendered in 2002 to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and was transferred for trial in Bosnia in 2006.

Keraterm was one of three major Serb-run camps set up to "ethnically cleanse" Muslims and Croats from the northwestern parts of the Balkan country after the break-up of the former Yugoslav federation.

Some 1,500 Muslims and Croats were detained in Keraterm and hundreds are believed to have been killed.

The Hague-based ICTY has tried 10 Bosnian Serbs for crimes committed in the Prijedor area and gave them jail terms ranging from five to 40 years. One suspect remains at large.

Bosnia's war crimes court was set up in 2005 to alleviate the U.N. war crimes tribunal and take over low- and mid-level cases as the U.N. court plans to wind down by 2010.

Reuters

Last Mod: 22 Nisan 2008, 17:10
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