SARAJEVO, Bosnia (Reuters) -- The Bosnian war crimes chamber sentenced a Bosnian Serb former paramilitary on Friday to 12 years in prison for the persecution, detention and torture of Muslims in eastern Bosnia early in the 1992-95 war.
Former reserve policeman Nenad Tanaskovic from the eastern town of Visegrad was also found guilty of setting Muslim houses on fire in nearby villages and abetting in the rape of Muslim women, presiding judge Hilmo Vucinic said.
"The trial panel of the Bosnia-Herzegovina court found the accused guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to 12 years in prison," Vucinic said.
During the 1992-95 Bosnian war, Bosnian Serb forces conducted a campaign of persecution against all non-Serbs from territories they earmarked to create a pure Serb territory.
Hundreds of thousands of Muslims were killed and expelled from their homes in eastern towns and villages.
"The accused took part in a widespread or systematic attack of the Army of the Bosnian Serb Republic, police and paramilitary formations against the Muslim civilian population of the Visegrad municipality," Vucinic said.
Tanaskovic took part in an organized attack on undefended Muslim villages, after which Bosnian Serb forces detained male inhabitants, looted a shop and set houses on fire.
He himself set two houses on fire, Vucinic said.
He also took part in the forcible persecution of Muslim families from their homes and the separation of men from women. Most of the men were later found in an eastern mass grave.
Survivors reacted angrily to the court's ruling, saying it was far too lenient.
"It's a disaster," said Bakira Hasecic of the "Women Victims of War" association, herself a rape victim from Visegrad.
Hasecic said that Tanaskovic had committed much graver crimes but that the prosecution had failed to invite dozens of witnesses against him. Tanaskovic was arrested by the state security police in July 2006. E-mail to a friend
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