Friday, February 29, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 29,2008) – The Bosnian State Court sentenced yesterday Serbian war criminal Mitar Rasevic to eight and a half years and Serbian war criminal Savo Todovic to twelve years of imprisonment for war crimes committed against Bosnian civilians during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia at the Foca concentration camp.

The Bosnian State Court announced Serbian war criminals Mitar Rasevic and Savo Todovic are guilty of crimes against humanity committed at the concentration camp in the eastern Bosnian town of Foca and sentenced them to eight and a half and twelve and a half years imprisonment respectively.

They were also found guilty of having participated in joint criminal enterprise.

The time they have spent in custody will be credited towards their sentence. Rasevic has been in custody since August 2003 and Todovic since January 2005.

Serbian war criminals Todovic and Rasevic, between April 1992 to October 1994, participated in the mistreatment of more than 700 Bosnian civilians at the Foca concentration campnnnnnj. Rasevic was commander of guards, while Todovic was deputy commander of the concentration camp.

The announcement of the verdict started with an hour and a half delay. Upon his arrival to the courtroom, Trial Chamber Chairman Hilmo Vucinic said the delay was "just proof" that the three-day legal deadline "was not sufficient for these type of decisions."

The Bosnian State Court announced the two Serbian war criminals guilty of all counts in the indictment, but it acquitted them of the charges contained in two sub-counts, which charged them with having maintained the system of mistreatment of Bosnian civilians in the Foca concentration camp and with having ordered the guards to torture and murder detained Bosnian civilians.

According to the Trial Chamber, on the basis of the presented pieces of evidence it can be determined that the indictees were "aware of their positions and of all the happenings in the Foca concentration camp".

"Most of the witnesses were the foca concentration camp survivors. The Chamber is aware of the fact that they were not eyewitnesses to these events, but it decided to admit their statements, as they suffered incrimination and because their statements were more or less the same," Vucinic said.

Chairman Vucinic also emphasised that, when considering the severity of the sentence, the Chamber "especially considered the mitigating circumstances" for Rasevic although he did not say which circumstances he was referring to.

"The eight and a half years sentence can fully serve the purpose of punishment. Concerning Serbian war criminal Savo Todovic, the Bosnian State Court determined that the twelve and a half years sentence is adequate bearing in mind the severity of the crime," Vucinic said.

The Defence attorneys of the two indictees said that they intended to file an appeal, as they were not content with the verdict.

The two Serbian war criminals were originally indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at The Hague. In October 2006, as part of the ICTY's exit strategy, this case was referred to Bosnia for further processing.

In early 2007 the Bosnian State Court confirmed the amended indictment against Serbian war criminals Mitar Rasevic and Savo Todovic.

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