A Bosnian war crimes court has jailed four former Bosnian Serb soldiers for up to 43 years for their roles in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. The court said the commandos shot dead 800 male civilians within six hours.
The jail terms for crimes against humanity are the lengthiest issued by the Bosnian court for Europe's worst atrocity since World War II. The Sarajevo court annulled genocide charges, citing a lack of evidence of intent to commit genocide.
It handed down the longest term, 43 years in jail, to Stanko Kojic and 40 years each for platoon leader Franc Kos and Zoran Goronja. The fourth ex-soldier, Vlastimir Golijan, got 19 years on the grounds that he was under 21 at the time of the massacre.
Presiding judge Mira Smajlovic said Kojic had boasted afterwards about the number of people he had killed. During the massacre on a Srebrenica farm the perpetrators even found time for a lunch break. The killings took place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Smajlovic said.
Their military group, the Bosnian Serb army's 10th commando unit, was founded by war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic who is on trial in The Hague. It included non-Serb mercenaries.
Many of the Muslim men and boys tried to escape through woods but were captured and slaughtered at locations near Srebrenica.
During the trial, Kos, who is of Slovenian origin, said the victims were brought in buses to the commando unit's execution site, a farm.
"They were heading calmly towards the execution site and lined up," Kos told the court. "We killed them by shooting them in the back."
ipj/ncy (AP, AFP, Reuters)