Jezik / Language:
26 February 2015

Female Bosnian Serb Fighters Convicted of Prisoner Torture

Dzenita Durakovic BIRN BiH Bihac
Former fighters Bora Kuburic and Radmila Banjac were sentenced to four years in prison each for torturing a captured Bosnian Army nurse in the summer of 1992 in Bosanska Krupa.
The court in Bihac on Thursday found Kuburic and Banjac guilty of the torture and inhumane treatment of the nurse from the Kljucko-Sanska Unit of the Bosnian Army who was captured by Bosnian Serb troops in the Radic area of the north-western Bosanska Krupa municipality in the summer of 1992.

The captured nurse, who was wounded in the head and leg, was handed over to members of the Women’s Front of the Bosnian Serb Army’s Petrovac Brigade, including Kuburic and Banjac, and was ordered to strip naked and crawl on the ground, which caused multiple lacerations.

According to the verdict, Kuburic and Banjac approached and hit the victim with sticks from a hazel tree until they broke.

They then made Banjac cut off her hair with a knife and made a cross on her head, while Kuburic took a knife and cut the lower part of the victim’s ear. The prisoner was later killed.

According to judge Jasminka Karabegovic, Kuburic’s defence tried to minimise her role by saying that she was ordered to abuse the prisoner by her superior officer and that she left the scene after cutting her ear, but the trial chamber did not believe her.

Karabegovic said that the defence’s claim that Banjac was the victim of mistaken identity was also “unlikely”.

She said that the inhumanity of the crime was considered an aggravating circumstance.

“The manner of the crime – stripping a wounded nurse and hitting her, in front of a crowd, which is humiliating, and ordering her to dig her grave speaks of the inhumane behaviour of the defendants,” said Krabegovic.

The court accepted as mitigating circumstances that the two defendants were young at the time of the crime and that they have families today, as well as that Kuburic admitted the crime and showed remorse. Banjac’s poor health was also viewed as a mitigating circumstance.

The verdict can be appealed.

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