Bosniak Fighter Jailed for Abusing Captives

18. February 2016.00:00
Ex-fighter Zlatko Husidic was sentenced to two years in prison for physically and mentally abusing three captured members of the Bosnian Army’s Fifth Corps in Velika Kladusa in March 1995.

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The cantonal court in Bihac on Thursday convicted Husidic, a former member of the National Defense of the Western Bosnia Autonomous Region, a small unrecognised statelet in the country’s north-west which existed between 1993 and 1995, of committing crimes against prisoners of war.

The verdict said that Husidic hit Bosnian Army soldiers Djani Cano, Fahrudin Sadikovic and Emir Pehlic in front of a garage in the village of Trnovi, near Velika Kladusa.

“Husidic first beat Cano with his left hand, because his right hand was injured. He then took his rifle and began beating Cano and Sadikovic, alternately [hitting them] with the rifle butt and kicking them all over their bodies,” presiding judge Reuf Kapic said.

He added that Husidic then hit Pehlic twice.

Explaining the verdict, judge Kapic said the court assessed the injured parties’ testimonies as trustworthy.

“The chamber does not accept the allegation that the defendant treated the detainees in a polite manner and that only verbal communication took place,” he said.

“Being a commanding officer, the defendant had the position to and feeling that he could behave in an inhumane manner, neglecting the provisions of the Geneva Convention, which he deliberately violated using his position without fear that he would be held responsible for and bear the consequences of his actions,” he added.

Husidic was ordered to pay the trial costs, while the victims were advised to file civil suits. The verdict can be appealed at the supreme court in Bosnia’s Federation entity.

The Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia was headed by secessionist Bosniak leader Fikret Abdic.

While leading the breakaway statelet, Abdic fought against fellow Bosniaks who were loyal to the Sarajevo government. His troops battled the Bosnian Army and cooperated with Serb and Croat forces.

Abdic was later convicted of participating in the killing of Bosniaks and jailed for war crimes by a Croatian court, but was released in March 2012 after serving two-thirds of his sentence.

Dženita Duraković

This post is also available in: Bosnian (Bosnian)