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Friday, 24 March, 2000, 11:19 GMT
War criminal loses appeal
A detention camp in Manjaca, Bosnia Hercegovina
Prison camps like this one in Manjaca, were common in the Bosnian war
A former Bosnian Croat prison commander found guilty of war crimes has had his sentence increased to seven years.

Zlatko Aleksovski, 40, was found guilty in May last year for his role as commander of the Kaonik detention centre in central Bosnia from January to May 1993. A UN tribunal sentenced him to two and a half years but he was released because he had already been in detention for three years.


Zlatko Aleksovski
Zlatko Aleksovski will serve about four more years
He was taken into custody again last month when he returned to the UN tribunal in The Hague to appeal the decision.

But the appeal was rejected and a counter appeal from prosecutors led to an increased sentence. Presiding Judge Richard May said the original sentence did not reflect Aleksovski's position of authority or the gravity of his crimes.

It was "manifestly disproportionate to the crimes", he said.

Human shields

Aleksovski was found guilty of taking part in a Bosnian Croat campaign to drive Muslims out of the central Bosnian Lasva River Valley in 1993. He beat prisoners, encouraged others to do the same and allowed prisoners to be used as human shields.

The former prison commander appeared relaxed as the judge issued the new sentence. He smiled and waved to family and friends before being escorted away by guards to the tribunal's detention facility. He will serve the approximately four years remaining of his sentence in a country still to be decided by the court.

At the original trial Aleksovski said the war in Bosnia had been madness and he insisted he had done all he could to improve conditions in the camp.

He is one of 14 Serbs, Croats and Muslims convicted by the UN court since it was set up in 1993 to judge suspected war criminals in the Balkan conflict. Another 35 suspects are in custody.

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