‘Justice Won’: War Victims Welcome Serbian Officials’ Convictions

"We want to believe in the judges, in the Hague court that has shown so far that we, the victims, have the encouragement to move forward," Abdurahmanovic said.

The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals delivered the convictions she was hoping for, sentencing Stanisic and Simatovic to 15 years in prison each, rejecting their appeals and widening the scope of their convictions.

The verdict said the two men - both key figures in Slobodan Milosevic's security apparatus - were guilty of participation in a joint criminal enterprise to forcibly and permanently remove non-Serbs from areas of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and of bearing responsibility for murders, deportation, inhumane acts and persecution.

Aljo Hasancevic from Bosanski Samac in Bosnia, who survived a mass shooting by Serbian Red Berets fighters in 1992, said he welcomed the verdict convicting Stanisic and Simatovic of bearing some responsibility for the fighters' crimes.

"This verdict represents the minimum satisfaction for the victims of torture and mass murders committed by units of the State Security of Serbia," Hasancevic told BIRN.

"Justice won after all," he said.

Bosnian Serb leader slams court

Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik gives a statement after the verdict, standing in front of the Russian ambassador to Sarajevo, Igor Kalabuhov. Photo: Dodik.net

Chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz said that the most significant part of the verdict is that it established that the wartime 'joint criminal enterprise', in which Serbian officials were involved, covered large parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.

"This demonstrates that it was not a civil war but an international conflict in...

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