Jezik / Language:
19 April 2012

Djordjislav Askraba Sentenced to Seven Years

The Appeals Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina sentenced Djordjislav Askraba to seven years of prison for crimes committed against Bosniaks in Kalinovik.
Askraba was found guilty of illegal imprisonment, aiding in murders and forcing Bosniak civilians from the towns of Kalinovik and Foca, imprisoned in the Gunpowder Storage camp, to hard labour.

The second instance verdict established that Askraba, a former member of the Army of Republika Srpska, committed these crimes in July and August 1992, as the head guard of the Gunpowder Storage camp.

The Appeals Chamber concluded that Askraba turned over camp prisoners to unknown persons on several occasions and incorrectly wrote down in the records that they were being transferred to a prison in the town of Foca.

Over 80 civilians were led out of the Gunpowder Storage and later murdered, while some of them are still considered missing.

“However, the Chamber established that the defendant did not know that the people who were taken away would be murdered,” explained Azra Miletic, the presiding judge of the Appellate Chamber.

Askraba was found guilty of letting out four civilians, who were subsequently taken to the battlefield in order to dig up the bodies of Serb soldiers, while he was acquitted on two counts for letting out three civilians, who later went missing.

“The Chamber did not accept the legal qualification from the indictment – crime against humanity – because, although a broad and systematic attack existed, the Prosecution failed to prove that the defendant’s actions were part of that attack,” said Miletic.

The Appeals Chamber found Askraba guilty under the Criminal Code of the former Yugoslavia and not the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina, under which he was indicted, because it assessed that the new state law from 2003 is not easier on the perpetrator in this case.

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina applies the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2003 in the majority of cases, and this is the third verdict for war crimes where the law from the former state has been applied instead.

The first instance verdict from December 2009 acquitted Askraba, but the Appeals Chamber quashed the verdict and ordered a retrial. The defendant has a possibility of appealing to the Third Instance Chamber.
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