December 29, 2005

Croatian court jails videotaped Srebrenica killer

ZAGREB (Reuters) - A Croatian Serb recognized in a
harrowing war video was jailed for 15 years on Thursday for
killing unarmed Bosnian Muslim prisoners during the Srebrenica
massacre, state news agency Hina reported.

A court in the Croatian capital found Slobodan Davidovic
guilty of killing six prisoners after Bosnian Serb troops
overran the Muslim enclave in eastern Bosnia in July 1995.

Davidovic, 57, was arrested in June after he was identified
in a home video filmed in 1995 that showed the prisoners being
killed by a Serb paramilitary unit called the Scorpions.

"Testimonies and the video of the executions, in which
Davidovic was recognized, clearly show that he and the others
had taken part in killing the Muslims," presiding judge
Miroslav Sovanj said in explaining the verdict.

Sovanj said Davidovic had been "a mature and experienced
man when he committed the crimes. After the war and his stint
in the Scorpions, he returned home as if nothing had happened,"
Hina quoted him as saying.

The Scorpions took part in the capture of Srebrenica and
the killing of up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys in 1995, in
Europe's worst single atrocity since World War Two.

Five of his fellow ex-Scorpions, seen on the same video,
appeared before a Belgrade court on murder charges earlier this
month. They were arrested after the video was broadcast on
Serbian television in June.

The video shocked Serbia, which had previously denied
knowledge of the Srebrenica massacre and the Serb involvement.
The video showed camouflaged men, joking, smoking, torturing
and then shooting unarmed young men in a clearing in the woods.

Davidovic, a Serb from the eastern Croatian city of
Vukovar, was also found guilty of torturing Croatian soldiers
in 1991 at the start of Croatia's independence war against
rebel Serbs backed by the Yugoslav army.

Davidovic had denied the charges and will appeal against
the verdict, Hina said.