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Rights group praises Serbia war crimes court rape conviction

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — A Serbian court has sentenced a former special police member to eight years in prison for raping a Bosniak woman during the 1992-95 war, in what has been described as a rare efficient war crimes trial in the Balkan country.

The Higher Court in Belgrade on Thursday convicted Nikola Vida Lujic of the assault, saying he broke into his victim's home in the Bosnian town of Brcko in June 1992, robbed and raped the woman while threatening her with his gun.

The Humanitarian Law Center group, which monitors war crimes cases, said Friday the trial was a rare one conducted "very efficiently" as it lasted only nine months. It says the verdict was appropriate.

Prosecution of war criminals is considered key for Balkan postwar reconciliation but trials often take years to conclude.

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