ICTY convicts Bosnian Serb cousins of war crimes and crimes against humanity
Devin Montgomery at 11:12 AM ET
[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Monday convicted [press release, PDF] Bosnian Serb cousins Milan Lukic and Sredoje Lukic [indictment; case backgrounder, PDF] of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their actions as part of a paramilitary unit during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war. The men were found guilty of the murder, extermination, and torture of Bosnian Muslims, including two separate instances of killing scores of civilians by locking them in residential buildings and then setting the buildings on fire. Handing down the judgment, the court condemned the men's crimes:
The Pionirska street fire and the Bikavac fire exemplify the worst acts of inhumanity that a person may inflict upon others. In the all too long, sad and wretched history of mans inhumanity to man, the Pionirska street and Bikavac fires must rank high. At the close of the twentieth century, a century marked by war and bloodshed on a colossal scale, these horrific events stand out for the viciousness of the incendiary attack, for the obvious premeditation and calculation that defined it, for the sheer callousness and brutality of herding, trapping and locking the victims in the two houses, thereby rendering them helpless in the ensuing inferno, and for the degree of pain and suffering inflicted on the victims as they were burnt alive. There is a unique cruelty in expunging all traces of the individual victims which must heighten the gravity ascribed to these crimes.
Milan was sentenced to life in prison and Sredoje was sentenced to 30 years.
|Milan Lukic and Sredoje Lukic photos courtesy ICTY|
The trial of the two men began last July [JURIST report]. In 2005, Milan Lukic was arrested [JURIST report] in Argentina. Earlier that year, he was convicted in absentia [JURIST report] by a Serbian war crimes court for his role in the 1993 abduction and killing of 20 Bosnian Muslims. In 2007, the ICTY announced it would conduct a joint trial of the Lukic cousins, revoking a planned referral [press release] of Sredoje's case to the War Crimes Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina [JURIST news archive]. The Bosnian War Crimes Chamber was established [JURIST report] in March 2005 to ease the backlog of the ICTY, which is currently trying to complete all its work by 2010.
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