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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 April 2007, 13:19 GMT 14:19 UK
Bosnian Serb jailed for 15 years
Dragan Zelenovic (file picture)
Zelenovic pleaded guilty in January to rape and torture
A Bosnian Serb former policeman has been sentenced to 15 years in jail by the UN war crimes tribunal for the rape and torture of Bosnian Muslim women.

Dragan Zelenovic, 46, pleaded guilty to the crimes, which took place during the 1992-1995 war in the former Yugoslavia.

In exchange for the plea, prosecutors at The Hague war crimes tribunal agreed to drop another seven charges.

Zelenovic was indicted in 1996. He was arrested in Russia in 2005 and extradited to The Hague last year.

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) had sought a 10 to 15-year sentence, while the defence had asked for seven to 10 years.

'Unspeakable pain'

Zelenovic showed no emotion, sitting with his head bowed and eyes closed as the presiding judge read out a summary of his crimes before passing sentence.

Foca in Bosnia-Hercegovina
Zelenovic abused women in the town of Foca
One of the women was just 15 when she was illegally imprisoned and gang-raped. Another had a gun held to her head while she was raped, the court heard.

"The victims... suffered the unspeakable pain, indignity and humiliation of being repeatedly violated, without knowing if they would survive the ordeal," said judge Alphons Orie.

"The scars left by the sexual assaults were deep and might never heal. This perhaps more than anything speaks about the gravity of the crimes in this case."

Zelenovic pleaded guilty in January, saying he wanted to spare his victims the ordeal of having to testify.

Zelenovic was among Bosnian Serb forces responsible for a campaign of rape and sexual assault of Muslim women in 1992 and 1993 in Foca, where he was deputy commander of the military police.

When it first came to court in 2001, the case established rape and sexual enslavement as a crime against humanity.

Zelenovic was on the run at the time, but was arrested in Russia in 2005, where he had been working on building sites in Siberia under a false identity.

Three other Bosnian Serbs indicted at the same time were convicted and given jail sentences ranging from 12 to 28 years in 2001.


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