Eight-year sentence for war crimes upheld for leader of Serb paramilitary group

NEWS 25.10.2021 17:49
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Croatia's Supreme Court on Monday upheld an eight-year prison sentence for the commander of the so-called Sodolovci Group, Djordje Rkman, who was found guilty of shelling civilian targets in Slavonia in 1991, and his extradition detention will be credited to his sentence.

Rkman and eighteen Serb paramilitaries as his accomplices, who were dubbed the Sodolovci Group, were tried in absentia and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.

They committed war crimes against civilians, by shelling settlements in eastern Croatia during 1991.

After he was arrested in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2018 on a European Arrest Warrant, Rkman was extradited to Croatia for a retrial. He has been incarcerated the entire time since then.

The prosecutor toned down the charges in the retrial. The indictment alleged that as a military commander in 1991, Rkman was aware that his subordinates fired mortar shells at surrounding villages several times. He failed to take any steps to make sure that there would be no shelling against civilian targets, the Supreme Court added.

The court reported that two civilians were killed in the attacks and two were injured and that significant damage was caused to houses, commercial and utility buildings.

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