Bosnian Serb leader jailed for 27 years after UN tribunal convicts him

The United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia today sentenced a former Bosnian Serb political leader to 27 years’ jail after convicting him of crimes against humanity for his role in the 1990s conflict in the Balkans.The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found Momcilo Krajišnik guilty of persecutions, extermination, murder, deportation and the forced transfer of non-Serb civilians. But the court, which is based in The Hague in the Netherlands, acquitted him of genocide, complicity in genocide and one count of murder.The Tribunal heard that Mr. Krajišnik was part of a joint criminal enterprise between July 1991 and December 1992 that aimed to reduce the population of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats within Bosnia and Herzegovina.The joint enterprise included the former Yugoslav President Slobodan Miloševic, the notorious paramilitary leader Željko Ražnatovic (aka ‘Arkan’) and the former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadžic, who remains at large today.Mr. Krajišnik, 61, was a senior Bosnian Serb political figure during the 1990s, serving variously as President of the Bosnian Serb Assembly and a member of the Expanded Presidency of the “Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”The three judges hearing the case found that he gave the go-ahead for the programme of ethnic cleansing during a session of the Bosnian Serb Assembly. Although the initial plan was confined to deportations and forced transfers, the court said the evidence showed it soon extended to murder and persecution.“Immense suffering was inflicted upon the victims in this case, and the consequences that the crimes have had on the Muslim and Croat ethnic groups in Bosnia-Herzegovina are profound. The crimes were committed over a long period of time, often through brutal methods, with hatred or appalling lack of concern,” according to a summary of the judgement.The judges hearing the case were Alphons Orie (presiding) of the Netherlands, Spain’s Joaquín Martín Canivell and Claude Hanoteau of France.In a separate ruling, the ICTY dismissed appeals by Ivica Marijacic and Markica Rebic against an earlier judgement which found them guilty of contempt of court.In March the Tribunal ruled that Mr. Marijacic, a journalist with a weekly Zagreb publication, and Mr. Rebic, the former head of Croatia’s Security Information Service, deliberately disclosed information about the testimony of a witness during a closed session. The appeals chamber affirmed the ruling and the fine of 15,000 euros each. read more