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Foca Sentence Appeal

By Merdijana Sadovic in Sarajevo (TU No 498, 21-Apr-07)
The appeals chamber of Bosnia’s war crimes court has increased the sentence handed down to Bosnian Serb Radovan Stankovic, convicted of wartime rapes in the eastern Bosnian town of Foca in 1992.

In November last year, Stankovic was sentenced to 16 years in prison for rape, torture and enslavement of Bosnian Muslim women in Foca during the war. However, on April 17, the appeals chamber increased the prison term to 20 years.

"The panel concluded that the sentence imposed under the first instance verdict did not meet the purpose of punishment, and it therefore revised it," the court said in a statement issued this week.

It dismissed appeals filed by Stankovic's defence as unfounded.

This is the first final verdict to be rendered in a case transferred from the Hague tribunal to Sarajevo.

Stanković - who was originally indicted in 1996 - was arrested by NATO troops in Bosnia on July 9, 2002, after which he was sent to the Hague tribunal. This court decided to refer his case to Bosnia in September 2002, but that happened only three years later.

Stankovic’s trial began in February last year and lasted ten months.

The Hague tribunal has transferred seven war crimes suspects to the Bosnian court so far, as part of its completion strategy. The tribunal announced this month that two more suspects will be transferred to Bosnia soon.

Merdijana Sadovic is IWPR’s Hague programme manager.

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