Bosnian Serb jailed for war crimes

The UN war crimes court has sentenced a former Bosnian Serb camp commander to 23 years in prison for murder, torture and rape during the Bosnian war.

    Nikolic was the first person to be indicted by The Hague tribunal

    Dragan Nikolic, commander of the Susica camp in northeastern Bosnia in


    also admitted facilitating the rape and

    sexual abuse of several Muslim and

    other non-Serb women detained at the camp.

    The prosecution had asked the International Criminal Tribunal

    for the former Yugoslavia to jail Nikolic for 15 years in

    exchange for a belated plea of guilty to charges of crimes against


    But Judge

    Wolfgang Schomburg told him:

    "The brutality, the number of crimes committed and the

    underlying intention to humiliate and degrade would render a

    sentence such as that which was recommended unjust."

    Plea change

    Nikolic, 46, was the first person indicted by The Hague court in 1994, b

    ut he was not arrested by NATO-led troops in Bosnia until April 2000.

    He was transferred to the court in The Hague the following day and initially pleaded not guilty to all charges.

    However, in September this year he changed his plea to guilty of four

    general charges of crimes against humanity including nine specific

    counts of murder and five of torture.

    Around 250,000 Bosnian citizens died during the 1992-5 Bosnian war, which saw some of the worst scenes of brutality in Europe since World War II.



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