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Begovic, a former member of the Bosnian Serb Army, was found guilty of participating in the murder of three civilians, the sexual abuse of several individuals and beating a number of detainees.
The trial chamber acquitted Begovic of seven counts, including complicity in the murder of two individuals. He was originally charged with 25 counts, but the prosecution gave up on two of them.
The trial chamber determined that witness testimony referring to the convicted counts were truthful and trustworthy.
Trial chamber chair Minka Kreho said the witnesses described the defendant as a particularly cruel person. He beat the detainees more than others, according to the witnesses, by punching them, kicking them with his boots on, and beating them with rifle butts and wooden batons. Kreho also mentioned an instance in which Begovic jumped on a prisoner’s back ten times and played Russian roulette with another prisoner.
“When describing the defendant, all of them said he was the most bloodthirsty of all the guards,” Kreho said.
She said prisoners Zulfo Hadziomerovic, Ferid Zecevic and Husein Curtic died due to beatings Begovic and other guards participated in.
The chamber determined that Begovic participated in sexual abuse of detainees on a farm, better known as a blockhouse, which was 300 meters away from Batkovic detention center. He was found guilty of forcing prisoners to perform oral sex.
Kreho said Begovic was acquitted of certain counts because no injured parties had been examined and there were no other substantiating documents. The chamber could not trust a witness who had testified in regard to one of the counts.
The trial chamber considered the following mitigating circumstances: the fact that the defendant was only 19 at the time, his lack of a previous criminal record and his partial guilty plea. The unscrupulous manner in which the crimes were committed was considered an aggravating circumstance.
As far as mitigating circumstances are concerned, the chamber considered the fact that he was 19 at the time, that he had not been previously sentenced and that he had partially admitted guilt. Among the aggravating circumstances considered by the chamber was the unscrupulous manner in which the crimes were committed.
Prohibitive measures against Begovic have been extended. The parties have the right to file an appeal against the verdict.