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Bosnian Fighters Jailed for Dretelj Prison Camp Abuse

10. June 2015.00:00
Two former members of the Croatian Defence Council, Veselko and Ivo Raguz, were sentenced to three years in jail each for abusing four prisoners at the Dretelj detention camp near Capljina in 1993.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

The appeals chamber of the Bosnian court found Veselko and Ivo Raguz guilty on Wednesday of participating in the interrogation of the four detainees, during which they kicked and punched them and tortured them with electric shocks.

Ivo Roguz also put a handful of salt in one of the beaten detainees’ wound.

The presiding judge Redzib Begic said that four witnesses described the abuse identically.

“Witnesses spoke consistently about how one soldier took them to the garage in August 1993 and made them run and after that they were made to go inside one by one and then tortured,” Begic said.

According to the judge, certain differences in the testimonies of these four witnesses showed that “their testimonies were not arranged and staged”.

“Unlike the prosecution witnesses’ testimonies, which were credible, the defence witnesses were tendentious and unconvincing and given only to help the defendants,” Begic said.

He said that the court accepted as mitigating circumstances the fact that the accused have families, behaved well during the trial and had no prior convictions. The gravity of the crime and its cruelty were taken into account as aggravating factors.

Veselko and Ivo Raguz were acquitted in the first instance verdict but the appeals court has partially quashed this and ordered a retrial over the abuse in the Dretelj camp.

As they were cleared at the initial trial, Wednesday’s verdict can be appealed.

Denis Džidić

This post is also available in: Bosnian