UN tribunal issues five-year prison sentence to former Bosnian Serb official
The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has sentenced a former Bosnian Serb official to five years in prison for war crimes committed in Bosanski Samac.
The Tribunal issued the sentence yesterday, after Milan Simic had pleaded guilty in May to two counts of torture as crimes against humanity. In a sentencing hearing later, the Prosecutor recommended a five-year sentence while Mr. Simic’s lawyers argued for three years in prison.
Mr. Simic had been charged with kicking and beating Muhamed Bicic repeatedly with iron bars and chair legs sometime during June 1992 in the Bosanski Samac primary school. He and four others were also indicted for having "planned, instigated, ordered, committed, or otherwise aided and abetted the planning, preparation, or execution of a crime against humanity, that is, the persecutions of Bosnian Croat, Bosnian Muslim and other non-Serb civilians on political, racial, or religious grounds, throughout the municipalities of Bosanski Samac, Odzak and elsewhere in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina," between September 1991 and December 1993.
That indictment states that almost 17,000 Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims – of a total population of about 33,000 – lived in the municipality of Bosanski Samac prior to 17 April 1992. Following the forcible take-over of the municipality by Serb forces, the majority of the non-Serb residents fled or were forced to leave the area so that by May 1995, fewer than 300 of the original 17,000 remained.