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Friday, 2 November, 2001, 16:27 GMT
Bosnia concentration camp guards jailed
Omarska prisoners
Images of the camp shocked the world
Five Bosnian Serbs have been sentenced to between five and 25 years' imprisonment for their part in running the notorious Omarska detention camp in northern Bosnia.

You participated in this hellish orgy of persecution. You knew what was happening

Judge Almiro Rodrigues

All the men were found guilty of murder, torture and crimes against humanity by the United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague.

The presiding judge, Almiro Rodrigues, told the men they had all known about or participated in rape, murder and persecution at the camp as part of a "widespread, systematic system of camps" intended to wipe out the non-Serb population in the Prijedor region of the country.

"You participated in this hellish orgy of persecution," he said, reading out the court's verdict. "You knew what was happening."

Zoran Zigic
Zigic: Visited camp to torture and kill prisoners
The court sentenced Mlado Radic, a shift commander, to 20 years. The judge said he had raped several women prisoners and enjoyed inflicting pain.

Zoran Zigic, a taxi driver and reserve policeman who visited the camp regularly in order to torture and kill prisoners, got 25 years.

Three others - Miroslav Kvocka, Milojica Kos and Dragoljub Pricac - were senior commanders at Omarska who received sentences of seven, six and five years respectively.

Television pictures of emaciated prisoners there and at two nearby camps alerted the outside world to the brutality of the ethnic cleansing by Bosnian Serb forces in north-west Bosnia.

Hundreds of prisoners, mostly Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats, were tortured and killed at Omarska, which linked two Serb-dominated regions of Bosnia.

The five had maintained their innocence of any crime. Their defence lawyers argued that they had helped detainees whenever possible.

The panel of three judges who convicted the men based its conclusions on testimony from 140 witnesses and more than 400 documents presented during 113 days of hearings.

Three other suspects were indicted by the tribunal in 1995 for alleged crimes at Omarska, one of them for genocide. The three - Zeljko Meakic, Momcilo Gruban and Dusan Knezevic - remain at large.

The BBC's William Horsley in The Hague
"The presiding judge said they had taken part in a hellish orgy of persecution"
Roy Gutman, award-winning journalist on Bosnian war
"They made it as difficult as possible to find out what the truth was"
Gordana Igric, Institute for War and Peace Reporting
"I was a little surprised that the sentences were so low"
See also:

02 Nov 01 | Europe
Omarska: A vision of hell
30 Oct 01 | Europe
Milosevic trial date set
23 Oct 01 | Europe
Bosnian Croats freed on appeal
03 Jul 01 | Europe
At a glance: Hague tribunal
03 Jul 01 | Europe
What is a war crime?
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