Bosnian Army Ex-Soldier Convicted of Killing Croat Prisoners of War

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Almir Sarajlic was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the murders of 12 captured members of the Croatian Defence Council, the Bosnian Croat military force, during the Bosnian war in December 1993.

The Bosnian state court in Sarajevo on Tuesday found wartime Bosnian Army ex-soldier Almir Sarajlic guilty of the killings of 12 Croatian Defence Council prisoners of war on December 22, 1993. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The court acquitted seven other men, all former commanders or members of the 325th Brigade of the Bosnian Army – Ibrahim Puric, Ibrahim Tarahija, Nijaz Sivra, Rusit Nurkovic, Sadik and Sacir Omanovic and Kasim Kavazovic.

The court established that on the day of the crime, Croatian Defence Council soldiers emerged from a basement in the hamlet of Safradini, near the villages of Krizancevo Selo and Dubravica in the Vitez area, and laid down their weapons.

After mistreating them, Sarajlic, Sadik and Sacir Omanovici and Kavazovic took them to Sarajlic’s house, about 100 metres away.

They were then told to go into some trenches and, according to a protected witness codenamed K-3, Saraljic opened fire on them.

“K-3 followed them… He saw that only Almir Sarajlic was shooting, the others were just there, he even heard Sadik Omanovic asking: ‘What are you doing?’” said the presiding judge, Jasmina Cosic Dedovic.

She added that numerous witnesses stated that there were stories that Sarajlic committed the murders, although some also named Omanovic and Kavazovic.

Cosic Dedovic said that the court did not believe the defence’s claims that Sarajlic was elsewhere at the time, nor that the testimony of K-3 was the result of a long-term conflict with the defendant.

Tuesday’s verdict was a first-instance judgment and can be appealed.

Source : Balkaninsight