Bosniak wartime officer gets 10 years for war crimes

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — A Bosnian court on Friday convicted a former senior officer whose troops included Islamic volunteer fighters during the 1992-95 conflict of war crimes and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

The Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina on Friday ruled that wartime Bosnian Army Third Corps commander Sakib Mahmuljin did nothing to prevent crimes against Serb prisoners by the El Mujahedin unit.

Mahmuljin had pleaded not guilty, with his lawyers insisting he had no real command over the unit that consisted of volunteers from the Middle East.

The indictment said members of the El Mujahedin unit killed at least 55 imprisoned Bosnian Serb soldiers between July and September 1995 in the areas of Zavidovici and Vozuca, in central Bosnia.

More than 100,000 people died during the war in Bosnia, which started when the Bosniak-led government declared independence from Serb-led Yugoslavia, triggering a rebellion by Bosnian Serbs who wanted to unite with neighboring Serbia.

The war ended in a U.S.-brokered peace agreement in 1995 which created two entities with a loose central government — Serb-dominated one and a Bosniak-Croat one. Bosnia remains ethnically divided and impoverished despite international efforts at reconciliation.

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