Jezik / Language:
18 December 2013

Bosnian Serb War Criminals’ Sentences Cut

Amer Jahic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
The appeals court reduced the sentences of ex-fighters Mirko Pekez and Milorad Savic after their retrial for involvement in the killings of Bosniak villagers in 1992.
The Bosnian state court’s appeals chamber on Wednesday cut Pekez’s sentence to ten years and Savic’s to 15 years for assisting in the murders of 23 Bosniak civilians in the village of Tisovac, near Jajce, on September 10, 1992.

The men, both former Serb territorial defence fighters, were retried after their previous conviction was quashed because they had been wrongly sentenced under the 2003 Bosnian criminal code, which was brought in after they committed the crimes, instead of the potentially more lenient Yugoslav-era code.

“As far as aggravating circumstances are concerned, the chamber took into consideration the number of civilian victims, their age, as well as the fact that they included children and women,” said trial chamber chairman Dragomir Vukoje.

Their behaviour in jail and their family situations were taken into account as mitigating circumstances, he said.

The court found that the men were among an armed group that agreed to gather Bosniak civilians from the villages of Ljoljici and Cerkazovici, in the Jajce municipality, with the intention of taking them to Tisovac and killing them.

Pekez assisted in the round-up and then left, while Savic stayed until the end of the shooting.

According to the verdict, most of the armed group shot at the civilians, but it was not proved beyond reasonable doubt that Savic did.

Under the original verdict in 2009, Pekez was sentenced to 14 years and Savic to 21 years for crimes against the civilian population.

The verdict cannot be appealed.
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