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Former Bosnian Army Commander Sentenced For War Crimes

A 2005 photo of former Bosnian Army commander Sakib Mahmuljin (file photo)
A 2005 photo of former Bosnian Army commander Sakib Mahmuljin (file photo)

A former Bosnian Army commander has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on January 22 for failing to stop killings and torture carried out by Islamist volunteer fighters who joined his troops during Bosnia's 1992-1995 war.

The Sarajevo court ruled on January 22 that Sakib Mahmuljin, 68, was guilty for the deaths of more than 50 ethnic Serb prisoners in the northeast regions of Vozuca and Zavidovici toward the end of the conflict in 1995.

The victims were killed by members of the "El Mujahid" -- a notorious unit of mainly foreign Islamist volunteers from North Africa and the Middle East -- though also from some Western countries -- who were part of the Bosnian Army's Third Corps.

Mahmuljin "failed to prevent the crimes of murder and inhuman treatment from being committed... and also to act in such a way that the perpetrators of these crimes are punished," the court said in a statement.

The court said that crimes committed under Mahmuljin's watch included torture of prisoners of war, some of whom were wounded, and some civilians.

Mahmuljin was arrested in December 2015, but was subsequently released on bail. He was indicted on January 7, 2016.

Mahmuljin is one just a few top Bosnian Muslim army officials to be convicted for the 1992-1995 war that left more than 100,000 dead.

His defense lawyers argued during the trial that he "had no effective control over the unit." The verdict can be appealed.

Most of the foreign Islamist fighters who joined Bosnia's conflict left after war ended with a U.S.-brokered peace deal in 1995.

With reporting by AP and AFP

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