First woman convicted of war crimes

2012-04-30 17:19
Sarajevo - A Bosnian Muslim former soldier on Monday became the first woman to be convicted of war crimes by a local court after pleading guilty to killing Croat civilians and prisoners during the 1990s war.

"Rasima Handanovic participated with other members of her unit in the executions of three civilians and three soldiers ... The tribunal sentences her to five-and-a-half years in jail," war crimes court judge Jasmina Kosovic said.

The crimes were committed on 16 April 1993, in the village of Trusina, in southern Bosnia. A total of 18 Croat civilians and four prisoners of war were killed at the time.

Handanovic pleaded guilty last week and agreed to testify against other former members of her unit under a plea bargaining agreement, which will see her get a lighter sentence of between five and six years in jail.

She was a member of the Zulfikar special unit, which was under the direct control of the Muslim-led Bosnian army headquarters.

Six other members of the unit are currently on trial before local courts over their role in the Trusina killings.

Handanovic emigrated to the United States after Bosnia's 1992-1995 war and now holds both US and Bosnian passports. The 39-year-old was extradited to Bosnia in December.

Although allies against the Serbs during most of Bosnia's war, the country's Muslims and Croats fought against each other for 11 months in 1993 and 1994.

The 1992-1995 war claimed around 100 000 lives.

Read more on:    bosnia  |  war crimes
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