Jezik / Language:
5 May 2009

Pekez et al: 35 Years in Total

By a second-instance verdict Mirko (son of Spiro) Pekez and Milorad Savic were found guilty of crimes committed in Jajce Municipality.
The Appellate Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina rendered a second-instance verdict, sentencing Mirko (son of Spiro) Pekez to 14 years'
imprisonment and Milorad Savic to 21 years for their participation in the shooting of a group of Bosniak civilians in Jajce Municipality in 1992.

By the first-instance verdict the former members of the reserve police forces had been sentenced to 21 years' imprisonment each, while Mirko (son of Mile) Pekez was sentenced to 29 years' imprisonment.

The indictment alleges that on September 10, 1992 the three men, "acting as an organized group of armed people", and after having made a joint plan, gathered 29 Bosniak civilians, including women, children and the elderly, from Ljoljici and Cerkazovici villages, in Osoje village and then took them to Tisovac, where they shot them. On this occasion 23 people, including four minors, were killed.

"The Chamber does not doubt the existence of a plan and of criminal intention shared by the three indictees, who acted as members of an organized group of people," Appellate Chamber Chairman Dragomir Vukoje said.

In the second-instance verdict the Appellate Chamber indicated that Mirko (son of Spiro) Pekez had helped gather the civilians and taken them to Osoje village, "leaving the place afterwards". It therefore sentenced him for helping others commit the crime. 

"The allegations made by Defence witnesses, who said that Mirko Pekez was in Sipovo on that day, were refuted by the witnesses who survived the shooting. Those witnesses said that they saw him in Osoje village. The Chamber determined that the indictee took part in gathering the village residents, thus helping the perpetrators. He was aware of the main characteristics of the crime, but he agreed with it. He did not participate in the murder because he backed down in the initial phase of the criminal plan," Vukoje said.

Unlike Pekez, the Court found Milorad Savic guilty of co-participation in the crime, claiming that he personally admitted having been present during the course of the shooting, although he claimed not to have shot himself.

"The indictee did not necessarily have to commit the murder. Merely by being there, he acted as if he participated in the execution of the plan. If we know for sure that he participated in all phases of implementing this plan, his presence at the crime scene means that he agreed with the actions," Vukoje said.

The Appellate Chamber said that when determining the sentence it considered the number of victims and their age, as well as the fact that the survivors would "remember the pain and the trauma associated with this event" for the rest of their lives, the circumstances under which the crime was committed and "the revengeful motives" as aggravating circumstances.

The Chamber said it considered "the personal and family status of the indictees" as mitigating circumstances.

The Appellate Chamber said that Pekez and Savic would remain in custody until they were sent to a prison to serve their sentences.
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