Bosniak War Criminal Urges Jail Sentence Reduction
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Former Bosnian Army serviceman Kapic appealed on Tuesday against his 17-year sentence for war crimes handed down after he was convicted of murdering four Serb prisoners of war in September 1995.
His defence said that Kapic was the youngest offender convicted of war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, bearing in mind that he was just 17 years old at the time.
“The court has to consider the mitigating factors. He is the father of two children, his wife is unemployed, and he has no previous convictions. I believe that the court will appreciate his behaviour and remorse,” the defence lawyer said.
The prosecution however said that the 17-year sentence was justified by the brutality of the crime.
The second-instance verdict in September 2009 said that Kapic had committed the “cold-blooded murder” of prisoners “who did not offer resistance and did not attempt to escape”.
“The accused demonstrated a pronounced resolve and persistence to kill the prisoners of war,” it said.
A former soldier with the Bosnian Army’s Third Corps, Kapic was acquitted in his first trial in 2008, but he then convicted a year later after a prosecution appeal and jailed for 17 years. This sentence was upheld on appeal in April 2010.
However the 17-year sentence was quashed by Bosnia’s constitutional court after it was ruled that the wrong criminal code was used at his trial – the stricter Bosnian criminal code, which was not in force at the time the crime was committed, instead of more lenient criminal code of the former Yugoslavia.
During the new trial, only the length of Kapic’s sentence will be discussed, not his guilt.