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7 November 2014

Bosnian Army Soldier Convicted of Zenica Killings

Denis Dzidic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
Former Bosnian Army serviceman Vehid Subotic, alias Geler (‘Shrapnel’), was sentenced to 14 years in prison for his role in the killings of civilians in the Zenica municipality in 1993.
The Bosnian state court on Friday found Subotic, a former member of the Seventh Muslim Brigade of the Bosnian Army, guilty of taking part in the murders of six civilians and the abuse of another in the village of Dusina near Zenica in January 1993.

The court found that Subotic entered the village with other members of his unit and captured 40 civilians and several disarmed Croatian Defence Council soldiers. After that, he took seven Croats and one Serb civilian to a house, where he ordered brigade members to kill them.

Two managed to survive, but presiding judge Zoran Bozic said that it has been established beyond reasonable doubt that Subotic took part in the abuse murders and abuse of one of them afterwards.

“The nickname Geler is one of the key issues of this trial, since the person who took the civilians from the house in Dusina said that was his nickname,” Bozic said.

“The defendant didn’t deny this was his nickname, and the trial chamber found he was in fact the person that took the civilians based on the testimonies of witnesses who testified that Geler said he lost his eye in Croatia, and all witnesses confirmed that the defendant had a strange eye,” the judge said.

He added that the court didn’t accept Subotic’s alibi that he was in a different house in Dusina.

“As mitigating circumstances, the chamber took into account the poor health condition of the defendant and the fact that he is a family man,” said Bozic.

“As aggravating circumstances, the chamber looked at the brutality of the crime and the fact that people were killed without reason, as well as the fact that some of the victims were related, so the loss of the family is far greater,” he added.

Subotic, who was not remanded in custody during the trial, was ordered into house arrest until he is called to serve his sentence.

The verdict can be appealed.

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