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Defendants Zoran Tesic and Simo Stupar outside court. Photo: BIRN
The Bosnian state court found ex-policeman Simo Stupar guilty on Tuesday of participating in a widespread and systematic attack on the Bosniak population in the Vlasenica area from April 1992 to the end of September that year, involving murders, the abuse of civilians and forcible disappearances.
His co-defendant Zoran Tesic, alias Koke, a Bosnian Serb Army soldier during wartime, was acquitted of all charges.
The verdict said that Stupar took part in an attack on the village of Dzamdzici in the Vlasenica area on May 18, 1992, when five people were killed and several properties were set on fire.
He also participated in the murder of a disabled civilian who walked with a crutch by shooting at him, along with three others.
The verdict found that participated in the beating of a Bosniak civilian at the police Station in Vlasenica in the first half of June 1992 and the inhumane treatment of another man.
The second man was hit on his back with chains and ordered to get down on all fours, and then Stupar and others carved a cross and Serb symbol on his back. Afterwards they poured salt on his wounds.
Stupar was also found guilty of having participated in the arrest of two men on July 10, 1992. After that, the two men went missing and their bodies were only found in 2007.
Presiding judge Darko Samardzic said that the defendant acted with direct premeditation as an accomplice in the murder, assault and disappearances.
“The court took into account the mitigating circumstances, including the fact he had no prior convictions, his family circumstances and his correct conduct,” Samardzic said.
“As for the aggravating circumstances, he demonstrated brutality towards the injured civilians,” he added.
Under the same verdict, Stupar and Tesic were acquitted of beating a man at the police station in Vlasenica in May 1992.
They were also cleared of taking part in an attack on the village of Alihodzici, and of participating in taking 50 villagers away to the Susica detention camp, where the men were detained.
“None of the witnesses said the defendants were present in Susica or that they participated in guarding them,” judge Samardzic said.
Stupar and Tesic were also cleared of participating in setting a civilian’s house on fire in Vlasenica in July 1992.
Stupar was further cleared of taking away two civilians who then disappeared without trace, and of taking away and mistreating another civilian.
This was a first-instance verdict and can be appealed.