Bosnia jails first female war crime convict

A court in Bosnia has jailed the nation’s first female war crimes convict. Rasema Handanovic, 39, admitted six killings in the village of Trusina in 1993.

Only one other woman has been convicted of crimes relating to the 1992-5 conflict in Bosnia, Bosnian Serb ex-president Biljana Plavsic. Plavsic was jailed for eleven years by an international court in The Hague, Netherlands in 2003 and later released.

Judge Jasmina Kosovic noted mitigating conditions for Handanovic: She had expressed remorse for the victims, she had co-operated and given testimony for use against others in the attack, she was a war rape victim, and she had lost family in the fighting. Handanovic received a five-and-one-half-years prison sentence on Monday.

Kosovic noted the convict “participated with other members of her unit in the executions of three civilians and three soldiers”.

Handanovic, now a United States citizen whom Bosnia extradited, was part of a firing squad. The Trusina incident ultimately left eighteen civlians and four prisoners of war dead. She provided evidence against six other members of Zulfikar, a special unit within the Bosnian and Herzegovinan Army. Handanovic had earlier struck a plea bargain.

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