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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bosnian Serbs sentenced to 31 years for Srebrenica massacre
Haley Wojdowski at 11:56 AM ET

[JURIST] The Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) war crimes court [official website] on Thursday convicted [press release] Radomir Vukovic and Zoran Tomic for their alleged roles in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre during the Bosnian civil war [JURIST news archives]. The accused were found guilty of genocide under Article 171 paragraph a) of the BiH criminal code [text, PDF] and were each sentenced to 31 years imprisonment. As members of the 2nd Sekovici Special Police Detachment, the court found that Vukovic and Tomic participated in capturing Bosniak men from the UN safe area and in securing a road to allow the transfer of Bosniak women, children, and elderly. The court also held that the accused knowingly aided in the event in which 1,000 Bosniak men were imprisoned in a warehouse and then executed by Serb police firing automatic weapons and throwing hand grenades. Vukovic participated by throwing hand grenades and Tomic fired an automatic rifle at the captured men. The court extended custody of the accused for up to nine months or until the court issues a new decision.

In March, the BiH indicted Nedjo Ikonic [JURIST report], a former Serb commander of a special police brigade, for his alleged role in the Srebrenica massacre. The BiH war crimes court was set up in 2005 to relieve the caseload of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website], and is authorized to try lower-level war crime suspects. The court delivered its first sentences [JURIST report] against war crimes suspects from Yugoslavia's violent ethnic conflicts of the 1990s in July 2008, convicting seven of genocide for their involvement in killings committed at the Srebrenica prison camp. The ICTY retains jurisdiction over high-level war crimes allegations, such as those against Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic [ICTY materials; JURIST news archive] and General Ratko Mladic [ICTY materials].

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