The international court released Ranko Cesic, an ex-policeman jailed for 18 years for ‘depraved’ crimes at a notorious detention camp near Brcko, after he served two-thirds of his sentence.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on Wednesday , who was convicted of torturing, raping and murdering Bosniak and Croat detainees at the Luka detention camp in 1992.
Cesic admitted killing 10 people, two of whom were beaten to death and the others shot dead, in a series of crimes that the court’s verdict said were committed with “depravity and cruelty”.
Theodor Meron, the president of the ICTY, said that Cesic had shown remorse and had cooperated with the international court’s prosecutors by testifying in other war crimes cases in The Hague.
“Although the crimes for which Cesic was convicted are very grave, Cesic’s completion of more than two-thirds of his sentence, his demonstrated signs of rehabilitation and his cooperation with the ICTY prosecution counsel are in favour of his early release,” Meron said in his decision.
Cesic, who was serving his sentence in Denmark, was eligible for early release from May 25, Meron said.
The ex-policeman, a former member of Bosnian Serb Territorial Defence forces, was arrested in 2002 in Belgrade and sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2004 after pleading guilty to all the charges against him.
“Without any false sentiments, I wish to express my deep remorse for all the evil I have done. Words such as ‘remorse’ are insufficient to express what somebody like me feels,” he said in 2004.
“Before the trial, I pleaded guilty to the counts of the indictment, and I did my best to help the office of the prosecutor and the Tribunal to bring to light a small part of the overall truth, the part that refers to my actions,” he added.
Meron said that the Danish prison authorities had reported that Cesic had demonstrated signs of rehabilitation.
Cesic “feels ‘bad’ about the crimes of which he was convicted, regrets the actions he took and wishes he had acted differently”, Meron explained.
According to the Danish prison report, Cesic “looks forward to living in a democratic society”.
The report said that after his release, he will go to live with his wife and “will support himself through the income generated from the couple’s restaurants”.