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3 Bosnian Serbs Sentenced by Tribunal - 2001-11-14


Judges at the International war crimes tribunal have sentenced three Bosnian Serbs who worked as detention camp guards to between three and 15-years in prison. The three were sentenced after pleading guilty to persecuting Muslims and Croats at the Keraterm prison camp in Bosnia in 1992.

All three men - Dusko Sikirica, Damir Dosen, and Dragan Kolundzija - pleaded guilty to one count of persecution during their trial. In exchange, prosecutors dropped the remaining charges, and judges handed out lighter sentences.

Dusko Sikirica got the stiffest penalty, 15 years. He was the camp commander in charge of security. He pleaded guilty to killing a man by shooting him in the back of the head. Damir Dosen was sentenced to five-years and Dragan Kolundzija to three-years.

Presiding Judge Patrick Robinson said guilty pleas facilitate the work of the Tribunal, saving the court time and work, and also contribute to establishing the truth of a crime. "In addition to the killings, Sikirica has admitted that there is evidence that beatings, rape, and sexual assault were perpetrated in the camp, as well as harassment, humiliation, and psychological abuse of the detainees," he says. "He further admits that there is ample evidence that the detainees were subjected to inhumane conditions during their confinement at the Keraterm camp."

The Keraterm camp was one of three created by Bosnian Serbs in northwestern Bosnia, where hundreds of Muslims and Croats were killed, tortured and raped, and thousands were held prisoner. Five men were convicted earlier this month for crimes at the Omarska camp.

Judges ruled then that the camps were all part of an intentional plan to ethnically cleanse the region of its non-Serbs. In sentencing the Keraterm commanders, Judge Robinson said that by admitting to persecution as a crime against humanity, the defendants knew they were taking part in a widespread and systematic attack on civilians.

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