Bosnian-born Swede convicted of war crimes

A Stockholm court on Friday sentenced a Bosnian-born Swedish citizen to five years in prison for war crimes committed against Serb prisoners during the war in the former Yugoslavia.

“The Stockholm district court sentenced today a 44-year-old man for aggravated crimes against international law to five years in prison,” the court said in a statement.

Ahmet Makitan, who served as a prison guard during the war, was also ordered to pay compensation to 22 former prisoners for a total of 1.5 million kronor ($240,656), with each victim being granted between 40,000 and 80,000 kronor, court documents showed.

The court said Makitan joined Croatian militia HOS when fighting broke out in Bosnia Hercegovina in April 1992.

A few months later, he served as a guard at the Dretelj detention camp, “where civilians of Serbian origin where detained without legal grounds”.

The court considered that by being a guard at the camp, Makitan was a participant in the detention of the prisoners and by doing so “went against the rules of international humanitarian law”.

His sentencing took into account that he participated in violence against prisoners, including in two mock executions.

The prosecution had asked for eight years in prison.

Makitan, who was born in Bosnia Hercegovina but obtained Swedish nationality in 2006, was arrested in January 2010 in northern Sweden, where he lived with his family.

Sweden opened a probe on the matter in 2008, receiving assistance with the investigation from a number of countries as well as the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

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