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Bosnia war crimes court sentences Serb commander to 26 years

[JURIST] The War Crimes Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina [official website; HRW backgrounder] Friday convicted former Bosnian Serb military commander Marko Samardzija [press release; case backgrounder] of crimes against humanity for ordering the massacre of at least 144 Muslisms from the Kljuc region in 1992 during the 1992-1995 ethnic war between Serbs, Bosnian Muslims, and Croats. The court sentenced Samardija to a prison term of 26 years, the longest sentence yet handed down by the Sarajevo-based court. On Friday the court also convicted and sentenced Nikola Kovacevic [press release; case backgrounder] to a 12-year prison term for the beating and inhumane transportation of Muslims and Croats to the Manjaca detention camp from the Sanski Most region in 1992.

The Bosnian War Crimes Chamber [JURIST news archive] was established in March 2005 [JURIST report] to ease the backlog of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website; JURIST news archive], currently trying to bring all its work to completion by 2010. Reuters has more.

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