UN tribunal hands down 20-year sentence to former top Bosnian Serb official

photo_verybig_10196018The appeals chamber of the United Nations war crimes tribunal set up after the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s today upheld earlier convictions of a former top Bosnian Serb official and sentenced him to 20 years in prison for deportations, forcible transfer and persecution of non-Serb civilians during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

However, the chamber dismissed other guilty verdicts for murder, extermination and persecution – with the exception of deportation and forcible transfer – against Momcilo Krajišnik.

In September 2006, the trial chamber convicted him of all of these charges, finding that he had taken part in a joint criminal enterprise – also including former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžic – seeking to recompose the territories under the Bosnian-Serb Republic’s control by slashing the proportion of non-Serbs through crimes.

But the trial chamber cleared Mr. Krajišnik of accusations of genocide and complicity of genocide.

The appeals chamber today reaffirmed the trial chamber’s finding that he “shared the intent to commit the original crimes of deportation, forcible transfer and persecution based on these crimes from the beginning” of the joint criminal enterprise, according to a press release issued in The Hague.

Since it became operational 15 years ago, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has indicted 161 people for war crimes. Proceedings against 117 people have been completed and are continuing against 42 others, with only two indictees – Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadži ć – on the run.

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