Monday, November 22, 2010

Camp Guard Denied Early Release

Judge rules crimes were too grave to allow Zoran Zigic to leave prison after nine years of 25-year sentence. By Rachel Irwin - International Justice - ICTY TRI Issue 669, 12 Nov 10

A former Bosnian Serb reserve police officer and prison camp guard has been denied early release, the Hague tribunal president ruled this week.

Zoran Zigic was sentenced in 2001 to 25 years in prison for the murder, torture and cruel treatment of non-Serb detainees at the Omarska and Keraterm detention camps in northern Bosnia. He was transferred to Austria to serve his sentence and under that country’s laws was eligible in October for early release.

In their judgement, appeals judges noted that Zigic was briefly a guard in Keraterm, but otherwise “entered the camps for the sole purpose of abusing detainees”.

He was found to have beaten detainees with “a rod with a metal ball attached to one end”. On another occasion, he made the prisoners sit on their hands and feet, “like dogs”, while he beat them. Afterwards, “they were made to crawl outside like dogs and wash their bloody faces in a puddle of dirty rainwater”.

In his decision this week, tribunal president Patrick Robinson noted the “high gravity” of Zigic’s crimes.

“I do not consider that the amount of time that Mr Zigic has served in detention militates in favour of his release,” he stated.

Zigic was tried alongside four other defendants – Miroslav Kvocka, Dragljub Prcac, Milojica Kos and Mlado Radic - who were also convicted of committing crimes against camp detainees. All except Zigic and Radic, who was sentenced to 20 years, have already been released.

Rachel Irwin is an IWPR reporter in The Hague.

View the original article here

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