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The BBC's Geraldine Coughlan
"The special chamber found no gounds for bias"
 real 28k

Judge Mohamed Shahabuddeen
Reads out the judgement
 real 28k

Friday, 21 July, 2000, 13:41 GMT 14:41 UK
Bosnian war criminal loses appeal
Furundzija
Anto Furundzija: Guilty verdicts stand
Judges at the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague have rejected an appeal by a Bosnian Croat paramilitary commander, Anto Furundzija.

Furundzija was jailed for 10 years in December 1998 for failing to prevent a subordinate from raping a Muslim woman during the Bosnian conflict seven years ago.


The Appeals Chamber unanimously rejects each ground of appeal, dismisses the appeal and affirms the convictions and sentences

Judge Mohamed Shahabuddeen
It was seen as a landmark case, as it was the first in which the tribunal dealt with rape as a war crime.

Furundzija had appealed against his conviction and sentencing on several grounds, claiming that his trial was unfair, that the judge was biased and that his sentence was too long.

But all five of the appeal judges threw out his case.

"The Appeals Chamber unanimously rejects each ground of appeal, dismisses the appeal and affirms the convictions and sentences," said presiding Judge Mohamed Shahabuddeen.

Barbarity

Furundzija was found guilty of torture and aiding and abetting rape when he was in command of a special forces group known as the Jokers, which operated within the Bosnian Croat army.

He had stood by while a naked Muslim woman was raped at knifepoint during interrogation at the Jokers' headquarters called the Bungalow at Vitez, west of Sarajevo.

A Bosnian Croat soldier who had helped her family was beaten.

Judges at the tribunal said it was a crime of the utmost cruelty and barbarity.

Landmark case

Nearly all the evidence against Furundzija was provided by the woman, who was said to have been left severely traumatised by the attack.

Furundzija, who had denied the charges, was convicted on two counts of violating the laws and customs of war.

The judgement was significant in providing a definition of torture and expanding the definition of rape under international law.

Besides arguing that his client was convicted on insufficient evidence, Mr Furundzija's lawyer had said the presiding judge at the tribunal should have been disqualified, because she did not disclose her involvement in a campaign to reaffirm rape as a war crime.

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14 Jan 00 | Europe
Analysis: Big fish still at large
20 Mar 00 | Europe
Bosnian rape camp trial opens
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