Wartime Bosnian Serb fighter Radomir Susnjar was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his involvement in killing 26 Bosniak civilians, including a baby, in a house that was set on fire in Visegrad in 1992.
The Bosnian state court in Sarajevo on Wednesday convicted Radomir Susnjar, alias Lalco, of involvement in wartime crimes in the Visegrad area in June 1992, including the murder of 26 civilians – one of them a two-day-old baby – who were locked inside a house that was then burned.
The court found that Susnjar, accompanied by fellow Bosnian Serb fighters Milan and Sredoje Lukic, attacked, inhumanely treated and robbed Bosniak civilians from the village of Koritnik who had been previously brought to a house in Pionirska Street in Visegrad on or about June 14, 1992.
Susnjar, who was armed with a knife while Milan and Sredoje Lukic had automatic rifles, searched the civilians in a brutal and humiliating manner, ordering them to take their clothes off, the verdict said.
Presiding judge Enida Hadziomerovic quoted a survivor of the attack who testified: “Each one of us had to strip. Even this little child had to be undressed.”
According to the verdict, after the civilians had been searched, they were ordered to go out and walk to another house in Pionirska Street around 30 metres away.
Milan Lukic then threw an explosive device into the house, causing a fire, and Susnjar threw in a grenade. During this time, all three Serb fighters were shooting simultaneously, preventing the civilians from escaping.
The attack resulted in the deaths of 26 civilians, including a two-day-old baby. Five civilians managed to flee and save themselves.
The remains of those who were killed have not yet been found.
Hadziomerovic said that although Susnjar only became a member of the Bosnian Serb Army on July 20, 1992, after the house was burned, it did not mean that he could not have committed the crimes.
“It is apparent from witnesses’ testimonies that Susnjar was present in Visegrad in June, he was seen wearing a uniform and carrying a rifle while accompanied by members of a paramilitary group… Susnjar committed this crime as a co-perpetrator,” Hadziomerovic said.
While determining the sentence, the court said that it considered the death toll of 26 – “including a newborn who was not even old enough to have a name” – as an aggravating circumstance.
It found no mitigating circumstances.
Hadziomerovic said that the 20-year sentence, the maximum available, was proportionate to the gravity of the crime and would send a clear message.
The verdict can be appealed.
Susnjar was arrested in Paris in 2014 and extradited to Bosnia and Herzegovina last year.
His co-perpetrator Milan Lukic was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Hague Tribunal for crimes in Visegrad, including the murders in Pionirska Street, while Sredoje Lukic was sentenced to 27 years in prison.