Bosnian prison boss fired after war criminal's escape

Bosnian Serb Justice Minister Dzerard Selman fired director of the prison in the eastern town of Foca from which Bosnian Serb war criminal Radovan Stankovic managed to escape last Friday.

Bosnian prison boss fired after war criminal's escape
Bosnian Serb Justice Minister Dzerard Selman fired Wednesday director of the prison in the eastern town of Foca from which Bosnian Serb war criminal Radovan Stankovic managed to escape last Friday.

Selman told media in Banja Luka that he fired Aleksandar Cicmil, the director, and suspended his deputy and nine guards who were escorting Stankovic at the moment when he escaped.

He also confirmed criminal charges were pressed against all 11 persons.

Minister Selman also publicly apologized to the victims of war.

Meanwhile some 100 women, members of the Association of Women Victims of War, gathered outside the State Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina to protest against Stankovic's escape from prison.

Protests of victims

The women, victims of rape and torture of Bosnian Serb troops during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, held pictures of Radovan Stankovic and demanded immediate action by Bosnia's authorities to recapture him.

On Tuesday, Bosnian Serb police said that Stankovic may have fled to neighboring Montenegro, after the vehicle he used for the escape was found in a forest near the Montenegrin border.

Radovan Stankovic, sentenced to 20 years jail for war crimes, escaped Friday from prison in an apparently well-planned action.

He managed to escape from police escort while heading to a local hospital after he requested to see a dentist, complaining of toothache.

The War Crimes Chamber of Bosnia-Herzegovina's State Court sentenced Stankovic in November 2006 to 16 years in prison for crimes against humanity committed during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

After he appealed, the court increased the sentence in March of this year, sentencing him to 20 years to prison in Foca, considered to be among the most secure prisons in the country.

Stankovic, who served with the Bosnian Serb army in Foca, was accused of organizing the enslavement, rape and inhumane treatment of non-Serb women in the so-called Karaman's House, a detention facility in the village of Miljevina near Foca, at the beginning of the war.

NATO peacekeepers detained him in July 2002 and handed him over to the authorities at The Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Prior to his arrest, the ICTY raised indictments against Stankovic charging him with war crimes and crimes against humanity, including rape, sexual assault, and the enslavement of Muslim women and girls in Foca.

In 2005 the ICTY transferred Stankovic to a Bosnia-Herzegovina court for trial in the country where the crimes were committed, as the first such case in the history of the tribunal.
Last Mod: 01 Haziran 2007, 16:10
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