War Crimes Prosecutor Demands Heavy Sentences for Bosnian Serbs

Published November 20th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

A war crimes prosecutor on Monday demanded heavy prison terms ranging from 15 to 35 years for three Bosnian Serb officers accused of raping Muslim women during the war. 

Prosecutor Dick Ryneveld said that no sentence would be sufficient given the injustice done to the victims, as he requested jail terms of 35 years for Dragoljub Kunarac, 30 years for Radomir Kovac and 15 for Zoran Vukovic. 

The three, who have been on trial since March 20, are charged with enslaving and raping Muslim women during a campaign of ethnic purges against non-Serbs in the southeastern town of Foca from June 1992 to February 1993.  

It is the first case at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in which rape has led to charges of crimes against humanity. 

Ryneveld said the men organized "a campaign of sexual violence" in Foca after the town fell to Serb forces. 

The youngest victim was said to be only 12 years old. 

As the terms were read to the court, Kunarac closed his eyes in disappointment, while Kovac let slip a small, ironic smile. Only Vukovic remained impassive. 

The men's lawyers began presenting arguments in their defense Monday, which were expected to continue Tuesday. 

The hearing is scheduled to end Wednesday, with a judgement being handed down in a few months, according to an ICTY spokesman -- THE HAGUE (AFP)  



© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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