Serbia Criticised for Cutting Bosnian War Criminal’s Sentence

The Belgrade-based Humanitarian Law Centre on Monday criticised the Belgrade Court of Appeals' decision to reduce former police inspector Osman Osmanovic's war crimes sentence for prisoner abuse from five to three-and-a-half years in prison.

"This course of proceedings conducted in Serbia against citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina does not contribute to strengthening regional cooperation or the trust of victims in the institutions of Serbia that process these crimes," the HLC said.

It said that this was the second recent case in which a Serbian court had sentenced people to prison terms that are "below the legal minimum, which are almost or completely covered by the time spent in custody".

The other case it cited was against Husein Mujanovic, who was sentenced in January to four-and-a-half years in jail for abusing prisoners during the Bosnian war.

The HLC also argued that the case against Osmanovic should have been transferred to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the first place "in order to strengthen regional cooperation and trust".

In March 2022, Belgrade Higher Court sentenced Osmanovic to five years in prison for abusing civilians and prisoners of war who were held at the Rasadnik camp in Gornji Rahic in Brcko during the summer of 1992.

But in a decision published last week, the Court of Appeals reduced Osmanovic's sentence to three-and-a-half years.

The Court of Appeals ruled that he had only abused one prisoner, not three as stated in the original verdict.

It said that "along with other persons, [Osmanovic] extorted statements about the circumstances of the deployment of the [Bosnian] Serb armed forces and the weapons at the disposal of the Serb side in the conflict, inflicting on the victim injuries to...

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