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ICTY appeals chamber reduces life sentence for former Bosnian Serb mayor

[JURIST] The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Wednesday reduced the life sentence [press release] of former Bosnian Serb mayor Milomir Stakic [ICTY case backgrounder; HRW backgrounder] to 40 years in prison. Stakic was a top official in the Prijedor Municipality [Wikipedia backgrounder] in northwest Bosnia during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War [Wikipedia backgrounder] and was a prominent member of the Serbian Democratic Party, operating under then President Radovan Karadzic [BBC profile], who is now one of the ICTY's most sought after men, facing charges of genocide.

Stakic was convicted [judgment] in 2003 of extermination, murder, and persecution for his role in expelling Muslims and Serbs from the Prijedor area. Judges in the case said that he was also partially responsible for setting up detention camps where non-Serbs were tortured and killed. As a result of his conviction, Stakic received the first life imprisonment sentence ever handed down by the ICTY. Both Stakic and the prosecution appealed the conviction, with Stakic also appealing the sentence. In addition to reducing Stakic's sentence, the appeals chamber upheld Stakic's conviction [judgment, PDF; ICTY summary] and also upheld the trial chamber's acquittal of genocide charges, noting that the prosecution failed to present sufficient evidence on that charge. Reuters has more.

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