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Bosnian Serb pleads not guilty to murder, rape

Written by: Staff
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SARAJEVO, Mar 16 (Reuters) A former Bosnian Serb paramilitary leader pleaded today not guilty to nine counts of crimes against humanity for the murder, rape, detention and beatings of Muslims during Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

Gojko Jankovic is the second war crimes suspect transferred from the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague to be tried by Bosnia's new war crimes court.

''Honourable court, the Hague indictment against me as well as this expanded indictment is shameful, framed, invented and false,'' Jankovic told the court during a short hearing.

''I said in the Hague and I say here, I am not guilty.'' The indictment charges Jankovic, a wartime police sub-commander in the eastern town of Foca, for attacks on Muslim villages around the town early in the war, after which civilians were detained and some summarily executed.

It also charges him for detention and beatings of Muslim men and multiple cases of rape of Muslim women as young as 12.

Jankovic surrendered to the Bosnian Serb authorities a year ago and was transferred to Bosnia in December.

Another Bosnian Serb from Foca, Radovan Stankovic, was also transferred last year from the Hague court for a trial in Bosnia which started last month.

Three of eight Bosnian Serbs charged with war crimes in Foca by the U.N. court have already been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 12 to 28 years. Two were killed in NATO arrest attempts while one is still at large.

Reuters OM DB2109

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