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War crimes tribunal sentences Serb

From Reuters

The U.N. war crimes tribunal on Wednesday sentenced former Bosnian Serb police officer Dragan Zelenovic to 15 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to the rape and torture of Muslims during Bosnia-Herzegovina’s 1992-95 war.

Zelenovic, a 46-year-old former paramilitary leader, was indicted in 1996 in connection with atrocities committed against non-Serbs in his native Foca region, southeast of Sarajevo, including a gang rape of a 15-year-old girl.

After Serb forces took control of Foca, whose population at the time was 52% Muslim and 45% Serb, they unlawfully detained thousands of Muslims and Croats.

The United Nations court found Zelenovic guilty of personally committing nine rapes of women or girls in Serb detention, eight of which qualified as both torture and rape, and four of which were gang rapes.

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“The victims at the detention centers in Foca suffered the unspeakable pain, indignity and humiliation of being repeatedly violated, without knowing whether they would survive the ordeal,” Judge Alphons Orie said.

Last year, Zelenovic pleaded not guilty to 14 counts of rape and torture, but his defense team later reached a plea agreement with prosecutors under which he admitted committing some of the crimes.

Zelenovic arrived in the Netherlands to face trial in June 2006. He was arrested 10 months earlier in western Siberia, where Russian media said he had been working on construction sites under an assumed name.


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