Serb gets 18 years for murder, rape in Bosnian war

Rape victims from the Bosnian 1992-95 war, who attended the trial, said that 18 years was the "minimum sentence".

Sarajevo: A war crimes court jailed a Bosnian Serb ex-soldier on Wednesday for 18 years for the murder of a family, rape and enslavement in Sarajevo during the 1992-95 siege of the Bosnian capital.

"Defendant Sasa Baricanin committed war crimes against the civilian non-Serb population in the city of Sarajevo," said Enida Hadziomerovic, chairwoman of the court council.

"Baricanin is found guilty ... of murder, enslavement and rape."

Baricanin was an accomplice in crimes committed by Veselin Vlahovic, also known as Batko, who is on trial for some of the most brutal treatment of civilians in Sarajevo in 1992 and 1993, Hadziomerovic said.

Along with Vlahovic, he broke into a family apartment in the Serb-controlled Grbavica district in July 1992, took away a husband, wife and son and shot them dead, the verdict said.

Baricanin came back for a female who was also in the apartment, kept her enslaved, raped her for several days and brought another person to rape her, the verdict said. The rape victim was a protected witness at his trial.

Rape victims from the Bosnian 1992-95 war, who attended the trial, said that 18 years was the "minimum sentence."

"We see the verdict as an amnesty," said Bakira Hasecic, president of the association Women-Victims of War.

Baricanin was a member of the Bosnian Serb Kosevo Battalion which operated in the Sarajevo neighborhoods of Grbavica and Vraca, controlled by Bosnian Serb forces and cut off from the rest of the city from April 1992.

Bosnian Serb forces, backed by the former Yugoslav army, launched an ethnic cleansing campaign in spring 1992 and within months captured almost three-quarters of Bosnia. They encircled Sarajevo for 43 months, killing more than 10,000 people.

Bureau Report

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