Former Bosniak Prison Personnel Avdovic and Vintila Sentenced for War Crimes
This post is also available in: Bosnian
On Friday Avdovic and Vintila were sentenced after being found guilty of the inhumane treatment of Bosnian Serb civilians from June to November 1992 in the Viktor Bubanj barracks in Sarajevo, now home to the Bosnian state court.
“The chamber carefully looked at all the evidence, individually and with regards to each other, and found both defendants guilty. The chamber found that the victims were civilians and their rights were violated,” presiding judge Zeljka Marenic said.
Avdovic, the former commander of the guards in the barracks, was found guilty of failing to stop the abuse of Jovo Elez, protected witnesses MB1 and A, by a guard named Kemal Dautovic.
According to the verdict, Avdovic beat prisoner Ljubomir Drakula by punching and kicking him. Judge Marenic said that the defense didn’t dispute this crime at all.
Vintila, a cook who later became a guard, was found guilty of punching and kicking Zeljko Kljajic with his boots without cause. He was also found guilty of forcing Kljajic to clean up the toilet with his bare hands. He was also sentenced for beating Slobodan Gutaj in cell number 12.
“It’s clear that abuse by guards took place each day…The chamber believed the testimonies of the victims, which described the manner of the abuse in a consistent manner,” Marenic said.
Avdovic and Vintila were acquitted of six counts in the indictment.
Avdovic, also the former commander of guards on the fifth floor of the Sarajevo central prison, was freed of charges that he abused Dragomir Pejovic and Zeljko Kljajic. He was also acquitted of charges of taking prisoners to locations where they performed forced labour.
Vintila was freed of charges of beating Milorad Sekara.
The chamber looked at the lives and family status of the defendants while deliberating mitigating circumstances and a lower level of criminal responsibility. Marenic said the chamber found no aggravating circumstances.
Besim Muderizovic was originally tried in this case, but died during the proceedings.
Avdovic was freed of charges that he took part in a joint criminal enterprise, aimed at imprisoning Bosnian Serb civilians in Sarajevo in inhumane conditions.
Avdovic was also acquitted of counts that he maintained a system of abuse against Serb civilians who were illegally detained.
The trial started in March 2012, and the verdict can be appealed.