Bosnian court jails Croat ex-soldier Azra Basic for 14 years | News | DW | 27.12.2017
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War in ex-Yugoslavia

Bosnian court jails Croat ex-soldier Azra Basic for 14 years

A female former Croat soldier convicted of torturing ethnic Serbs in 1992 has been jailed for 14 years by a Bosnian court. Azra Basic, now 58, was extradited from the United States last year to face trial.

USA Azra Basic 2011 (imago/ZUMA Press/D. Perry)

Azra Basic being escorted to court in 2011 in Lexington Kentucky.

The Sarajevo court said Basic exhibited "particular cruelty" against ethnic Serbs when they were held by Croat forces in the Derventa region in the opening phase of ex-Yugoslavia's 1992-1995 war.

It sentenced the former member of the Croatian and Bosnian Croat armies to 14 years imprisonment for taking part in "killing and inhumane treatment, infliction of great pain and violation of bodily integrity and health" of detained civilians.

Read more: Bosnian Muslim jailed for war-time murders

Basic left Bosnia in 1994 and settled as a naturalized citizen in the US state of Kentucky where she worked in a food factory.

In 2011 she was arrested and fought extradition back to Bosnia, which was approved by a US federal court in 2016.

When her trial opened in Sarajevo in January 2017, Basic pleaded not guilty and became one of only a dozen women indicted or convicted of crimes during the inter-ethnic war - alongside several hundred men, mostly in The Hague.

'Mistress of life and death'

Witnesses at the trial had described Basic as behaving as a "mistress of life and death" over detainees in Derventa, a town and region about 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Sarajevo.

Bosnien und Herzegowina Nachwirkungen der letztjährigen Überschwemmungen (DW/Z. Ljubas)

Derventa in the semi-autonomous Serbian part of Bosnia

Trial judge Sead Djikic said Basic was found guilty of killing a kneeling detainee by stabbing him in the neck.

Alone, or with other military personnel, she had also tortured a dozen other detainees with kicks and punches and baseball bat strikes, he said.

She inscribed crosses with a knife on their backs and foreheads, the judge added.

Plavsic convicted in 2003

The most prominent woman sentenced by the now disbanded UN court in The Hague was former Bosnian Serb vice-president Biljana Plavsic.

Now 87, Plavsic was jailed in 2003 for 11 years and was granted a release in 2009. She was the only woman to be convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

During Basic's trial, Bosnian psychologist Ismet Dizdarevic said women were notably cruel "to prove their power among men."

ipj/jil (AP, AFP)

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