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22 February 2013
News

Dronjak: Bosnian Serb Prison Chief’s Sentence Contested

BIRN BiH
Both prosecution and defence appealed against the 15-year prison term given to Ratko Dronjak for jailing and abusing civilian inmates in the Bosnian town of Drvar.
Complaining about what she said was insufficient punishment for prison camp commander Dronjak’s wartime crimes against Bosniaks and Croats, prosecutor Dzemila Begovic requested that the verdict should be changed and the accused sentenced to at least 30 years in jail.

“Forty-five people were brutally murdered... The defendant treated the prisoners monstrously. The court established that he killed one of them in cold blood,” said Begovic.

Defence lawyer Slobodan Peric however requested that Dronjak be released, given a lighter sentence, or sent to a retrial.

Dronjak was convicted of establishing a system of imprisonment and abuse of Croat and Bosniak prisoners who were held in the Slavko Rodic school and Kamenica camp in Drvar during the Bosnian conflict. The guards abused the prisoners daily, the verdict specified, and murders were also committed.

But Dronjak was acquitted of two counts that charged him with the murder of several prisoners who had been taken out of the Kamenica camp.

According to the prosecutor, the first instance chamber accepted the defendant’s cooperation and his poor health as extenuating circumstances. However, she said, Dronjak did not cooperate with the prosecution and the state of his health was accepted without any proof.

Defence lawyer Peric said that the witnesses who spoke about Dronjak killing prisoners were instructed to do so. He added that the prisoners in the Kamenica camp were abused at night, when Dronjak was not around.

Peric said that a medical expert had established that Dronjak was 80 per cent incapacitated.
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