Bosnian Serb sentenced to 15 years

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A former Bosnian Serb policeman has been sentenced to 15 years in prison by a UN war crimes tribunal.

Dragan Zelenovic, 46, was found guilty of the rape and torture of Bosnian Muslims at a detention centre in Foca when he was the deputy commander of the military police.

Zelenovic was indicted in 1996 for atrocities against non-Serbs and was arrested in Russia two years ago before his extradition to the Hague last year.

In January he pleaded guilty to the crimes which meant the victims did not have to undergo the ordeal of giving evidence to the court.

During his hearing at the UN's war crime tribunal a jury was told of the rape of nine women in Serb detention. Eight of the attacks qualified as both torture and rape and four of atrocities were gang rapes.

A 15-year-old girl was illegally imprisoned by the Serb forces during the 1992-1995 war before she was gang-raped. The court also heard of another woman who was raped at gun point.

"The victims at the detention centres in Foca suffered the unspeakable pain, indignity, and humiliation of being repeatedly violated, without knowing whether they would survive the ordeal," Judge Alphons Orie said at the sentencing.

"The scars left by the sexual assaults were deep and will perhaps never heal. This, perhaps more than anything, speaks about the gravity of the crimes in this case."

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