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After agreeing a plea bargain guaranteeing him a five-year jail term in return for admitting guilt, Soldo was convicted by the state court on Tuesday of unlawfully detaining the woman in a bungalow at Boracko Lake within the army camp in June and July 1992.
He raped the woman every day and forced her to tidy bungalows inside the camp, wash military uniforms and clean shoes, while being subjected to mistreatment and humiliation.
“Other unknown [Bosnian Serb Army] soldiers, as well as soldiers from Serbia, raped the injured party,” said presiding judge Mediha Pasic.
“Due to threats to her life, she was forced to change her name and religion, which has caused permanent psychological consequences to the injured party,” Pasic added.
Before the verdict was handed down, Soldo addressed the court and apologised to his victim.
“I am sorry because all this happened. I am sorry and I really honestly apologize for everything that happened,” Soldo said.
When determining the sentence, the court took into account as mitigating circumstances the defendant’s cooperation with the prosecution, his remorse for the crime and apology to the victim, as well as the fact that he is disabled and a father of two.
The gravity of the crime and the psychological damage sustained by the victim were taken into account as aggravating circumstances.
“The most important thing for us is that the injured party agreed with the signing of this [plea bargain] agreement, that defendant Soldo expressed his apology in public and that he will testify in cases linked to crimes committed in the Konjic and Nevesinje area,” prosecutor Sanja Jukic said.
Soldo’s lawyer said the defendant signed the agreement with the prosecution because of his feelings of guilt and that his apology was genuine.
“Both the Bible and the Koran say to forgive is human,” defense lawyer Milenko Vojo Radovic said.
The verdict cannot be appealed.