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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 April 2007, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
Jail for Serb video death squad
Victim is shown with hands tied
The video shows the bound victims marched into the woods and shot
Serbia's war crimes court has jailed four Serb paramilitaries who were filmed as they shot dead six captured young Bosnian Muslims.

The Scorpions unit leader and one of his accomplices were given 20 years each - the others 13 and five years.

A fifth man was cleared of the murder which took place during the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia in July 1995.

This was the first trial in Serbia to deal with the massacre of nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys around Srebrenica.

It was also the biggest war crimes trial of Serbs by Serbs to date.

These people will leave jail one day, but my child will never come out of the ground
Nura Alispahic
Mother of victim

But relatives of the victims expressed disappointment that the maximum sentences - of 40 years - had not been handed down.

Prosecutors said the five suspects were members of a paramilitary unit called the Scorpions.

On the video, paramilitaries are heard taunting the youths about their virginity before shooting them in the back as they lay in a ditch.

The tape was played at the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague (ICTY) in June 2005 at the trial of the late Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic.

Victims unhappy

Correspondents say the video shook the popular belief in Serbia that any war crimes their side had committed were done in the heat of battle.

The former commander of the Scorpions unit, Slobodan Medic, and his main accomplice, Branislav Medic, were each given 20 years in jail.

Slobodan Medic, 20 years
Branislav Medic, 20 years
Pera Petrasevic, 13 years
Aleksandar Medic, five years
Aleksandar Vukov, acquitted

Pera Petrasevic, the only defendant to have confessed to the crime, was given 13 years. The fourth defendant, Aleksandar Medic, was given five years while a fifth man, Aleksandar Vukov, was acquitted

"Slobodan Medic ordered the three defendants and two others to execute the prisoners, take them away from the site and make it seem as if they had been killed in conflict," Judge Gordana Bozilovic Petrovic said.

"By committing such acts against defenceless civilians, by showing off their power and not showing remorse, the defendants did not give the court the choice to pass lower sentences," the judge added.

'Justice not done'

But several relatives of the victims, who had been brought from Bosnia under police escort, expressed disappointment at the verdicts.

"Whatever the ruling, my child is not here," said Nura Alispahic, who saw her 16-year-old son being killed in the video.

Relatives of the victims leave the court house in Belgrade.
The relatives of the victims are still struggling to come to terms

She said it was disgraceful that one of the former paramilitaries had been given only five years - and another acquitted altogether.

"These people will leave jail one day, but my child will never come out of the ground," she said.

Another one, Alispajic Azmira, said: "There is no other place where you can kill somebody without being punished for it."

Their views were echoed by well-known Serbian lawyer Natasa Kandic.

"Considering the seriousness of the crime committed, justice was not done with the verdict," Ms Kandic said.

"The verdict neither brings justice to the defendants for what they have done, nor for the victims killed only because they were Bosnian Muslims from Srebrenica."

The case was heard at a special war crimes court in Serbia, which was established in 2003 to deal with lesser crimes referred to Belgrade by the ICTY.

The video that was used as evidence

Court clears Serbia of genocide
26 Feb 07 |  Europe

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