Published On: Sat, Mar 30th, 2013

Veselin Vlahovic, Batko, sentenced for 45 years for Sarajevo war crimes during Bosnian War

A Montenegrin warlord was jailed for 45 years Friday for the murder, rape and torture of non-Serb civilians in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war. This was the longest sentence handed down so far by the Bosnian war crimes court.

Veselin Vlahovic, nicknamed Batko, was found guilty of the murdering of 31 people, raping of at least 13 women and torture and robbery of dozens of civilians in Grbavica and Vraca, Serb-occupied areas of Sarajevo, in 1992, said presiding judge Zoran Bozic.

Veselin Vlahovic

Veselin Vlahovic

Batko was known by his victims as the “Monster of Grbavica” and “Master of Life and Death” as he carried out the “horrid, cruel and manifold criminal acts”, Judge Bozic added.

Prosecutors presented a 66-count indictment against Vlahovic, the most extensive ever for crimes committed in the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

The 45-year sentence is the maximum that can be given for such crimes.

Vlahovic was a member of paramilitary group the White Angels, which was allied to the Bosnian Serb army, often demanded ransoms of money or gold for his captives.

“Victims who could not pay for their lives would be typically taken to a recognisable location on Trebevic hill and shot in the head,” Judge Bozic added.

“In June 1992, he forced 13 members of the Pecar family out of their home and ordered three male relatives to run across a front line street planted with mines,” he said.

Those who had nothing to offer in turn for their lives were typically killed by a shot in the forehead, mouth or temporal bone, according to forensic accounts,” said the judge.

He also described how Vlahovic raped a woman who was seven months pregnant in front of her young daughter in their Grbavica apartment, and in another incident raped a woman and then forced her to watch him rape her mother.

Bosnian Serbs, backed by the Serb-led Yugoslav army, launched an “ethnic cleansing” campaign in April 1992 in which thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Croats were killed, held captive or driven from their homes.

Within months, Serb forces had captured almost three-quarters of Bosnia and encircled its capital, Sarajevo, where more than 10,000 people died in a 3-1/2-year siege.

Vlahovic had been detained in 2010 in Spain and was delivered to the Bosnian court. He had served a jail sentence after the Bosnian war for an armed robbery in Montenegro. He pleaded not guilty at the start of the trial and maintained his stance.

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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