Croat woman jailed for wartime torture, killing

SARAJEVO – A Bosnian court Wednesday sentenced a Croat female former soldier to 14 years in jail for crimes including torture, the heaviest sentence handed down against a woman for atrocities committed during Bosnia’s 1990s conflict.

Azra Basic, 58, was extradited to Bosnia in late 2016 by the United States where she emigrated after the 1992-1995 war.

She was arrested in 2011 on a Bosnian warrant and her trial opened

in January.

Basic was found guilty of war crimes against ethnic Serb civilians detained by Croat forces in April 1992 in the region of the northern town of Derventa.

Sentencing her, judge Sead Djikic stressed the “defendant’s particular cruelty” in committing the crimes.

Described by some witnesses as the “mistress of life and death” during the war that claimed nearly 100,000 lives, Basic was found guilty notably of killing a detainee.

While Blagoje Djuras was on his knees after being beaten, and held by two other detainees, Basic approached him “with a knife in her hand which she stabbed in his neck,” the judge said.

She also tortured a dozen other detainees, alone or with other military personnel, kicking and punching them or even hitting them with a baseball bat.

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

Basic is among around a dozen woman indicted for or convicted of crimes committed during Bosnia’s inter-ethnic war.

Bosnian and international courts condemned several hundred men for war crimes during the 1992-1995 conflict.

Former Bosnian Serb vice-president Biljana Plavsic, 87, remains the most famous woman war criminal from the former Yugoslavia.

Plavsic, the only woman tried before the UN war crimes court in The Hague, was sentenced to 11 years in jail in 2003, after pleading guilty.

 

 

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