[JURIST] Milan Babic [ICTY case backgrounder], former wartime leader of Croatia's rebel Serbs during the Balkan wars, was found dead in his cell at a UN detention facility Sunday after he committed suicide. Babic was sentenced [JURIST report] by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website] to 13 years in prison for his role in ethnic cleansing, after pleading guilty to one count of persecution [plea agreement] in a deal where prosecutors dropped four other charges of murder, cruelty and wanton destruction of villages. Among the crimes Babic admitted to were murder, deportation or forcible transfer, unlawful imprisonment of non-Serb civilians, and destruction of property. Babic's sentence was upheld on appeal [JURIST report].
Babic had been serving his sentence at a UN detention facility in a suburb of The Hague. He was a key witness against former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic [JURIST news archive], testifying at Milosevic's ICTY trial in 2002. ICTY President Judge Fausto Pocar has ordered an internal inquiry [ICTY press release] into Babic's death. AP has more.