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15 Years in Prison for Crimes in Bugojno

18. December 2013.00:00
The Appellate Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina sentences Senad Dautovic to seven and Nisvet Gasal and Musajb Kukavica to four years each for having committed crimes against Croat prisoners in Bugojno in 1993 and 1994.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Following a renewed trial, they were found guilty of having tortured and treated Croat prisoners in an inhumane manner in several detention facilities.

In this verdict the Appellate Chamber applied the Criminal Code of the former Yugoslavia, accepting conclusions from a ruling by the Strasbourg Court.

“There were no deaths in this case, so we considered that we go for a minimal legal sentence as explained in the verdict against Maktouf and Damjanovic,” said Appellate Chamber Chairman Hilmo Vucinic.

Under a first instance verdict pronounced in November 2011, Dautovic was sentenced to 13 and Gasal to six years in prison, while Kukavica was acquitted of charges. They were sentenced for crimes against the civilian population according to the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

However, as explained by Vucinic, the Appellate Chamber did not come across any pieces of evidence that the injured parties in this case gad the status of civilians, adding that the Prosecution did not specify that in the indictment either.

Dautovic, former Chief of the Public Safety Station and member of the wartime Presidency in Bugojno, was found guilty of having allowed the detention of captured members of the Croatian Defence Council, HVO, who had surrendered and handed their weapons over, in bad conditions. 

The Chamber determined that he knew that members of the Public Safety Station tortured and treated the prisoners in an inhumane manner, but he failed to prevent this even though he was obliged to do it considering his function.

Gasal, former Manager of a detention camp at “Iskra” stadium, where about 300 Croats were held, and Kukavica, Commander of Guards in that facility, were found guilty of having allowed the usage of detainees for forced labour on the front lines, where their lives were endangered.

“Although they knew about the torture of detainees in the detention camp at ‘Iskra’ stadium, they failed to undertake measures to prevent that. They could have prohibited members of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina from entering the premises or reported the perpetrators, but they did not do it,” Vucinic said.

When it comes to the duration of imprisonment sentences, Vucinic explained that the Chamber considered the fact that Dautovic did not personally committed those crimes, except for issuing orders and permits, and that Gasal and Kukavica were helpers.
The verdict pronounced by the Appellate Chamber can be appealed by Kukavica only, because he was acquitted of charges under the first instance verdict.

As far as Dautovic and Gasal are concerned, their trial, which lasted for nearly six years, has been completed with the pronouncement of this verdict.

The time they spent in custody, about a year and ten months, will be calculated towards their sentences.

Marija Taušan

This post is also available in: Bosnian