A WAR-CRIMES PRECEDENT IS SET (3 Bosnian Serbs convicted in rapes of women, girls)

A young Muslim woman sobbed as she relived being tortured repeatedly at a Bosnian Serb camp and raped night after night eight years ago.  She was raped so many times she lost count.  The woman told how she and other girls were passed from soldier to soldier, each of whom raped them for weeks in the summer of 1992.  She recounted gang rapes and threats to cut the shape of a cross into her flesh.  She was 15 years old at the time.  The woman is identified only as witness no. 50.  She testified from behind a screen at the rape trial, the first sexual enslavement prosecution in an international court, which began last week.  The defendants are former Bosnian Serb fighters Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovac and Zoran Vukovic and they are accused of running a network of so-called rape camps in Foca, southeast of Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovin.  They have all pleaded innocent.

A UN tribunal yesterday established sexual enslavement as a war crime, convicting the three Bosnian Serbs who took part in the nightly gang-rapes and torture of these Muslim women and girls at the so-called rape camps during the Bosnian war.  They were found guilty of sexually assaulting and torturing the women and girls as young as 12 years old and forcing them to perform domestic chores and selling them into further bondage.  They received 28 and 20 year sentences, respectively.

(The Hague, Netherlands)