Serbia court sentences 14 individuals for war crimes

[JURIST] The War Crimes Chamber of the Belgrade District Court on Tuesday sentenced 14 former members of the Yugoslav army and paramilitaries for killing non-Serb civilians during the Serbo-Croatian War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] in which around 20,000 people lost their lives. The court found [B92 report] that the prosecution had presented evidence proving beyond reasonable doubt that the 14 individuals were guilty of killing 70 Croat civilians during November and December 1991. The court sentenced Ljuban Devetak to 20 years in prison and Mulan Radojcic to 13 years, while Milan Devcic and Zeljko Krnjajic each received a 10-year sentences. Former member of the Yugoslav Army Miodrag Dimitrijevic was also sentenced to 10 years in prison while Darko Peric and Radovan Vlajkovic received five years each with Radisav Josipovic getting four years. Jovan Dimitrijevic and Zoran Kosijer, former paramilitaries were sentenced to eight and nine years, respectively. Petronije Stevanovic, Sasa Stojanovic and Dragan Bacic were sentenced to 14, eight and six years. Lastly, Aleksandar Nikolaidis received a six-year sentence. They were found guilty of compelling civilians to walk through mine fields and using them as human shields.

The International Criminal Tribune for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] has been working with Serbia to convict and sentence those responsible for the crimes committed during the 1991-95 war in Croatia. Completion of the ICTY is considered the final step before Serbia's accession to the European Union (EU) [official website]. Earlier this month, the ICTY closed its third contempt trial against former Serb nationalist politician and war crimes suspect Vojislav Seselj [official website, in Serbian; JURIST news archive] who has been accused of contempt of court and divulging data in a book he authored [website, in Serbian] disclosing names, occupations and residences of 11 protected witnesses. He was sentenced in October to 18 months in prison and in July 2009 to 15 months [JURIST reports]. A week earlier, the prosecution for the ICTY reported [JURIST report] the court's Completion Strategy to the UN Security Council [official website] addressing among others Serbia's failure to investigate and prosecute those who aided the fugitives. In July 2011, Serbian authorities arrested [JURIST report] Goran Hadzic [ICTY backgrounder], the last fugitive of the original 161 sought for war crimes by the ICTY.

 

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