After accepting the guilt admission agreement, the Trial Chamber sentenced Stojan Perkovic to 12 years in prison for crimes committed in Rogatica area.
Perkovic was sentenced for participation in a broad and systematic attack against non-Serb civilians in Rogatica. As part of the attack, he participated in the murder, beating, persecution and forcible disappearance of civilians in Surovi, Mesici and Varosiste villages.
The Trial Chamber found Perkovic guilty of having raped protected witness X1 in Varosiste village in 1992.
“The Court considers that sufficient evidence has been presented to prove that the indictee committed the individual crimes charged upon him, and that they were committed as part of a broad and systematic attack,” Trial Chamber Chairwoman Mira Smajlovic said.
Prior to the pronouncement of the verdict, the indictee addressed the Court, expressing apology to the victims.
“I never wanted this war to happen. I lived with my neighbours, irrespective of their nationality. I know that evil and ugly things happened, but I did not want them to happen. I sincerely sympathize with the pain and suffering of all victims, because I suffered similar things as well. Once again I would like to express my sincere regret to all victims,” Perkovic said.
The trial of Perkovic, former commander of a squad with the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, in Ladjevine village, began in June 2009. As per the guilt admission agreement signed by the indictee, he could be sentenced to between 10 and 14 years in prison. The agreement was signed on December 17 this year.
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina exempted the indictee from paying the trial costs. By the verdict, his custody, which began in January 2009, was extended.
Pronouncing the verdict, the Court said it accepted as mitigating circumstances the fact that the indictee established cooperation with the State Prosecution, his sincere regret conveyed to the victims and the fact he is “a disabled elderly person”.
As considered by the Court, the large number of victims and crimes charged upon Perkovic represent aggravating circumstances in his case.
In its closing arguments, presented at this hearing, the State Prosecution said that, in his “capacity as a superior officer with the VRS”, Perkovic “deliberately participated in the attack”. It also stated that the cooperation he promised by signing the agreement “has already produced results”.
“Further, the public admission represents a kind of satisfaction for the victims and witnesses, who have been saved from being traumatized again by having to testify,” Prosecutor Bozidarka Dodik said.
Perkovic’s Defence said the indictee “bears a heavy burden of guilt”, adding this was the reason he signed the agreement with the State Prosecution.
“You heard the witnesses who survived the tragedy because of the pain they suffered and the fact that they lost their family members. I assure you that Perkovic had to deal with it in the most difficult way. We could see him becoming like a ruin from one hearing to another,” Miodrag Stojanovic, Defence attorney of the indictee, said.
The public were excluded from the part of the hearing at which Perkovic’s Defence told the Trial Chamber about “the names and positions disclosed by Perkovic through his cooperation with the Prosecutor”.