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After having been informed by the Austrian Embassy that Zoran Zigic was “eligible for early release”, because he had served half of his 25-year imprisonment sentence, Hague Tribunal President Patrick Robinson rejected the motion.
“In the Tribunal’s practice, a person who has served at least two thirds of sentence is eligible for early release. The time Mr. Zigic has served does not go in favour of his early release,” Robinson said, adding that Zigic will have served two thirds of his sentence in December 2014.
Zoran Zigic, also known as Ziga, was sentenced, by a second instance verdict pronounced in February 2005, to 25 years in prison for crimes committed in Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje detention camps. The verdict says that Zigic was “a guard in Keraterm detention camp for a short period of time”, but he “entered” the two other detention camps “in order to abuse, beat, torture and kill” non-Serb detainees.
“I consider that Mr. Zigic’s crimes are very grave. This factor goes against his early release,” the Tribunal President says in his decision.
Zigic surrendered in April 1998. He was transferred to Austria to serve his sentence in June 2006.
According to a report on his conduct during the course of his stay in prison, which was submitted to the Tribunal, Zigic’s conduct “is good, with minor misdemeanours”, like possession of prohibited items, so the prison staff “explicitly supports” his release.
“Taking all these things into consideration, I consider that, despite the fact that Mr. Zigic has demonstrated proof, although very limited, of his rehabilitation, the factors that go against his early release are still valid – his crimes were very grave. I think that the time he has served so far does not go in favour of his early release,” Robinson said in conclusion.
The Hague Tribunal previously sentenced Mladjo Radic to 20 years and Milomir Stakic to 40 years in prison for murder, abuse and persecution of Bosniaks and Croats from the Prijedor area during the course of 1992, in a related case. The two men are still serving their sentences.
In addition, Dusko Sikirica, Predrag Banovic, Damir Dosen, Dragan Kolundzija, Miroslav Kvocka, Dragoljub Prcac, Milojica Kos and Dusko Tadic were sentenced by second instance verdicts to a total of 69 years in prison. After having served the entire or part of their sentences they were released to liberty.