Bosnia Upholds Female Croat Fighter’s War Crimes Sentence

31. May 2018.15:28
Bosnian Croat ex-fighter Azra Basic’s appeal was rejected and she was jailed for 14 years for taking part in the killings, torture and inhumane treatment of Serb civilians and prisoners of war in 1992. The appeals chamber of the Bosnian state court on Thursday upheld the conviction of Azra Basic, a former member of the wartime Bosnian Croat force, the Croatian Defence Council, and jailed her for 14 years.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Basic was found guilty of committing crimes against civilians and prisoners of war in the Bosnian municipality of Derventa in 1992.

Her appeal against the state court’s verdict was rejected as unfounded.

Basic was found guilty of having participated, alone or in collaboration with other fighters, in the murder, torture and inhumane treatment of Serb civilians in the premises of the Yugoslav People’s Army Hall in Derventa and in the nearby village of Polje from April 26 to May 1992.

On the basis of testimonies by witnesses, some of whom recognised the defendant in court and stated clearly that she killed a man called Blagoje Djuras, the verdict determined that Basic was guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

“She was the only female person at the Yugoslav People’s Army Hall,” the verdict said.

The verdict also determined, on the basis of witnesses’ testimonies, that the defendant ordered detained civilians to eat Yugoslav banknotes, walk barefoot on glass and lick blood from Djuras’ dead body.

She was also found guilty of having caused severe physical pain and mental suffering to two men called Boro and Petar Markovic in the village of Polje on May 2, 1992.

Basic’s time spent in custody since she was extradited to Bosnia and Herzegovina from the US will count towards her sentence.

Croatian-born Basic left Bosnia and Herzegovina after the war and settled in the US, eventually becoming a naturalised citizen.

But she was arrested in the state of Kentucky in 2011 and prosecuted for immigration fraud after allegedly giving false information about her role in the Bosnian war when she arrived in the US.

She then waged a long battle against deportation, arguing that she took part only in ordinary military operations against Serb troops and did not commit any war crimes, and that she herself had been badly mistreated in a Serb prison camp.

However she was eventually extradited to Sarajevo from the US in November 2016.

Thursday’s verdict is final and cannot be appealed.

Admir Muslimović

This post is also available in: Bosnian