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26 April 2007

Brdjanin's Sentence Reduced

The Appeals Chamber of the Hague tribunal has reduced Radoslav Brdjanin's sentence, passed for crimes committed in Bosanska krajina in 1992, to 30 years of prison.

Radoslav Brdjanin's sentence has been reduced from 32 to 30 years imprisonment by the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.

Appeals judges rejected the original Trial Chamber's decision that the indictee's actions had influenced the torture that was carried out in Bosnian Serb detention camps, and that Brdjanin was involved in the destruction of villages and settlements on the territory of Bosanska Krupa municipality.

The ICTY has passed the original verdict and sentence in September 2004 for crimes committed against non-Serb population in Autonomous Region Krajina (ARK), where the accused was chair of the crisis staff from April to December 1992.

In the first instance verdict, Brdjanin was found guilty of persecutions, tortures, rapes, taking of property, deportation, murders and heedless destruction of towns, settlements and villages, committed in municipalities of Banja Luka, Bosanska Krupa, Bosanski Novi, Bosanski Petrovac, Celinac, Donji Vakuf, Kljuc, Kotor-Varos, Prijedor, Prnjavor, Sanski Most, Sipovo and Teslic.

Both the prosecution and the defence appealed the verdict, and presented their arguments to the Appeals Chamber in December 2006.

Appeals judges accepted the arguments presented by Brdjanin's defence, and denied the charges according to which the indictee influenced members of Bosnian Serbs who took part in torturing non-Serbs in detention camps and centres, arguing that this was not proven.

The Chamber rejected the prosecution's appeal against the original Trial Chamber's decision to acquit Brdjanin of charges of extermination of civilians from the territory of Krajina, explaining that "the first instance chamber did not act reasonably, but there is no basis to change the decision".

The Chamber accepted the facts established in the first instance process that Brdjanin, as member of the crisis staff, knew of the strategic plan to create a Serb entity from which non-Serbs would be permanently relocated and that therefore he was aware that criminal acts had been committed in order to realise this plan.

Brdjanin's sentence includes time spent in custody, where he has been since July 1999, after he was arrested by SFOR soldiers in BiH.

The first indictment against him was filed in The Hague on March 14, 1999, but was changed six times by 2003. He was finally charged with crimes against humanity, heavy violation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and violations of laws and customs of war.

Brdjanin was born in 1948 in Popovac, Celinac municipality.
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