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Thursday, 22 February, 2001, 18:26 GMT
Judge condemns 'depraved' defendants
Dragoljub Kunarac (left) arrives in court to be sentenced
Dragoljub Kunarac (left) received the longest sentence
In passing sentence on Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovac and Zoran Vukovic Judge Florence Mumba said they had shown a "glaring disrespect" for their victims' fundamental human rights.

The accused thrived in the dark atmosphere of the dehumanisation

Judge Florence Mumba
She described all three as "morally depraved characters", and said the case reflected "the effect a criminal personality will have in times of war upon the civilian population".

During the trial, the court heard evidence that the three men had systematically abused and degraded their victims in the south eastern Bosnian town of Foca between June 1992 and February 1993.

Judge Mumba said the offences were part of a wider, organised effort to strike terror into the Muslim population.

'Dark atmosphere'

"The accused are not ordinary soldiers whose morals were merely loosened by the hardships of war... they thrived in the dark atmosphere of the dehumanisation of those believed to be enemies," she added.

Zoran Vukovic
Vukovic: 12 years for rape and torture

Muslim women had been imprisoned at the mens' apartments, deprived food, forced to perform menial household chores and denied any control over their lives.

The verdicts follow months of testimony from dozens of witnesses, including 16 rape victims who came forward to give evidence.

The women told how Bosnian Serb paramilitary soldiers entered detention centres and selected women and girls as young as 12 for nightly gang-rapes and sexual torture.

'Repugnant' offences

Judge Mumba described the multiple rapes committed by Kunarac - who received 28 years - as all the more repugnant because of his position of responsibility as an officer.

You abused and ravaged Muslim women because of their ethnicity, and picked whomsoever you fancied

Judge Florence Mumba
She said Kunarac was involved in a "nightmarish scheme of sexual exploitation" and despite his position of authority had chosen to organise and actively participate.

The court heard evidence on how Kovac - jailed for 20 years - played music on his stereo while raping a woman, and sending a 12 year old girl to be raped by others.

The court was also told how he allowed soldiers to rape girls at his apartment and organised for girls to sold and exchanged between different groups.

Vukovic - who received a 12 year term - was severely reprimanded for telling a 15 year old girl he had just raped she had got off lightly because she was the same age as his daughter.

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See also:

20 Mar 00 | Europe
Bosnian rape camp trial opens
10 Jan 01 | Europe
Milosevic trial: Home or away?
21 Jul 00 | Europe
Bosnian war criminal loses appeal
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