Serbs Jailed for Wartime Herzegovina Crimes

resizer140The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has issued a first-instance verdict, sentencing Krsto Savic and Milko Mucibabic for crimes against humanity committed in eastern Herzegovina.

By a first-instance verdict, handed down by the State Court, Krsto Savic has been sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for participation in a joint criminal enterprise, and Milko Mucibabic to five years and three months’ imprisonment for aiding in crimes in 1992 and for illicit trade and production of arms.

“The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has determined, beyond reasonable doubt, that Krsto Savic participated in a joint criminal enterprise. We have concluded that the State Prosecution failed to present sufficient evidence to prove the participation of Milko Mucibabic in that enterprise,” Trial Chamber Chairman Minka Kreho said.

The State Prosecution charged Savic and Mucibabic with having participated, together with other members of military, police, civil and paramilitary formations, in a joint criminal enterprise with the aim of persecuting the non-Serb population of Gacko, Bileca, Nevesinje and Kalinovik municipalities in the course of 1992.

Savic was found guilty on all counts in the indictment, while Mucibabic was acquitted of the charge that he took two persons to the front line and “ordered them to cross the line and go to the enemy side” and negotiate the exchange of women for killed Serb soldiers.

“On the basis of presented evidence, the Court determined that Mucibabic was an executor of orders and that he did not show any discriminatory intention. The Court determined that the indictees were aware of the crimes and that those crimes were part of an attack against the non-Serb population,” Kreho explained.

The Trial Chamber said that there existed “a persecution plan” in which Savic participated, adding that the police played “a very important role” in the crimes that were committed.

Savic was Chief of the Public Safety Station in Trebinje and Minister of Internal Affairs of the so-called Serbian Autonomous Region of Herzegovina, while Mucibabic was a member of the Police Safety Station in Nevesinje.

Explaining the first-instance verdict the Trial Chamber noted that many witnesses spoke, “in a convincing and detailed manner”, about the crimes committed in 1992, adding that there had been “many illogical elements” in the evidence presented by the Defence.

“The only mitigating circumstance considered by the Chamber in Savic’s case was the fact that he made a decision allowing a man to be transferred to ‘Alatnica’, thus showing a certain level of humanity. As far as Mucibabic is concerned, we determined that the fact that he helped a certain number of people to leave Nevesinje could be considered as a mitigating circumstance,” Kreho explained.

Under the court’s decision, Savic and Mucibabic will have to cover costs. As soon as the verdict was handed down, Savic was ordered into custody and prohibiting measures against Mucibabic were extended.

The Defence said that they would appeal the verdict.

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