Monday, 30 April 2012

Bosnian Court Convicts First Woman of War Crimes

Rasema Handanovic is the first Bosnian woman to be convicted of war crimes for killing Croat prisoners.  Handanovic, who was a Bosnian Muslim soldier during the 1990s war,  pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargaining deal. 

War crimes court judge Jasmina Kosovic said, "Rasema 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."

Although Croats and Bosnian Muslims where allies, fighting Serbs, for most of the Bosnian war, they were adversaries for almost a year in 1993 and 1994.  Handanovic was a member of the Zufilkar Special Unit at the time, which killed 18 civilians and four prisoners in the village of Trusina in Southern Bosnia.

Rasema Handanovic plea bargained for a lesser sentence by agreeing to testify against members of her former unit.  The plea bargain agreement resulted in her getting a lesser sentence.  She was extradited from the United States, where she had immigrated after the war, to Bosnia in December. The 39 year old holds dual citizenship of the U.S. and Bosnia. 

During the Bosnian war 100,000 lives were lost, one of the most famous massacres and human rights abuses occurred in Srbenica.  Slobodan Milosovic, Radovan Karadicz and Ratko Mladic are some of the most publicized personalities to be prosecuted for war crimes in Bosnia.

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