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17 June 2013
News

Bosnian Serb Policeman Jailed for Assisting Genocide

Amer Jahic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
Former policeman Zeljko Ivanovic’s jail sentence was raised to 24 years by the Sarajevo appeals court, which ruled that he aided the Srebrenica genocide by assisting in the murders of 1,000 Bosniaks.
The court’s appeals chamber ruled on Monday that Ivanovic was guilty of assisting the July 1995 genocide and increased his sentence from 13 to 24 years in jail.

He was convicted of participating in the imprisonment of Bosniak men who had fled from Srebrenica but had surrendered.

He helped to escort the prisoners to a hangar in the village of Kravica, where around 1,000 of them were executed.

While the prisoners were being killed, the verdict said, Ivanovic was positioned at the back of the hangar to prevent the prisoners escaping their deaths through the windows.

“There is no evidence that Ivanovic fired a shot in the hangar. By carrying out his role as a guard, he was aware that his action contributed to murders,” said presiding judge Redzib Begic.

Begic said that Ivanovic was one of four members of the second squad of the Bosnian Serb special police from the town of Sekovici who helped to stop the prisoners escaping.

The judge said that the appeals chamber believed the testimony of another of the policemen, Petar Mitrovic, who testified that Ivanovic was among them. Mitrovic was sentenced to 28 years in jail in a separate case.

According to the verdict, Ivanovic was aware of the existence of a genocidal plan, which is why the appeals chamber convicted him of aiding the commission of genocide and not of crimes against humanity, as the first verdict had ruled.

“A rational man, especially a member of the special police, would in Ivanovic’s place have been aware that there was a genocidal plan,” the appeals court’s verdict said.

He was also found guilty of helping to secure the road between Konjevic Polje and Bratunac in the village of Sandici so that Bosniaks forcibly removed from Srebrenica could be brought through.

As an extenuating circumstance, it was accepted that Ivanovic committed the crime when he was barely 23 and that his actions were not as grave as those of the people who actually shot the prisoners.

The verdict is final and cannot be appealed further.

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