Bosnian Serb Fighter’s Wartime Assault, Robbery Conviction Upheld

Belgrade's Court of Appeals has confirmed the two-year sentence handed down to Bosnian Serb ex-fighter Zeljko Budimir for beating up a civilian and stealing his money in the village of Rejzovici in Bosnia's Kljuc municipality in November 1992.

The appeal decision, which was made on October 7 and published on the court's website on Monday, accepted the mitigating circumstances that the first-instance court took into account when deciding to impose a two-year sentence, the minimum punishment available.

It said that "the first-instance court correctly assessed the fact that the defendant was 21 years old at the time of committing the crime, and that he has no convictions".

It said that the first-instance court acted correctly by imposing the minimum sentence, which would "achieve the purpose of punishment".

According to the indictment, Budmir was one of three fighters who broke into the house of a man called Ale Strkonjic in Rejzovici at around 11pm on November 21, 1992, and beat him up and stabbed him.

Strkonjic gave the men the money they were demanding - some 5,800 German marks - and then escaped.

One of the two other fighters who was with Budmir approached Strkonjic's wife Fatima, pulled out his gun and shot her in the head, then killed her mother, Fata Koljic, with a knife, the indictment alleged.

But during a retrial in February, the court acquitted Budimir of participating in the murders of Ale Strkonjic's wife and mother-in-law.

The indictment did not specify to which military group or unit the defendant belonged.

In his initial trial in September 2019, Budimir was also sentenced to two years in prison for assaulting and robbing Strkonjic and acquitted of participating in the murders of his wife...

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