Serbia: Two sentenced for war crimes against Muslim civilians

Belgrade, 22 Nov. (AKI) – Serbia’s special court for war crimes on Monday sentenced two Bosnian Serbs for crimes against Muslim civilians in the eastern Bosnian town of Zvornik in 1992.

Branko Popovic, a wartime commander of Zvornik territorial defence, was sentenced to fifteen years and former Zvornik mayor, Branko Grujic, to six years in jail.

According to the indictment, Pavlovic and units under his command were responsible for taking hostage 700 Muslim civilians, for inhuman treatment and killing many of hostages.

The court said the hostages were kept in inhuman conditions in a small room in which twenty people suffocated. The bodies of 352 victims were later exhumed and identified, the court said.

Grujic sentenced because he knew about the crimes, but did nothing to prevent them, the court said.

The prosecution said it wasn’t satisfied with the sentence and would lodge an appeal.

The United Nations war crimes tribunal plans to end work by 2014, and new cases have been turned over to local courts.

Serbian courts have in recent years sentenced scores of former paramilitaries to terms of up to twenty years in jail.


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