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Former Bosnian Serb president released early from prison

[JURIST] Former Bosnian Serb president Biljana Plavsic [ICTY profile, PDF] was released [press release] from a Swedish prison on Tuesday after serving two-thirds of her sentence for war crimes committed between July 1991 and December 1992. Plavsic voluntarily surrendered herself to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] in 2001 and was indicted [text, PDF] on 8 counts of war crimes. In 2002, she pleaded guilty to one count of crimes against humanity in a plea agreement [text, PDF] and was sentenced to 11 years in a Swedish prison. The Swedish prison alerted the ICTY in May that Plavsic would have served two-thirds of her sentence in October, and under the the agreement between the UN and the Swedish government on the enforcement of sentences of the ICTY, she was eligible for conditional release under Swedish law. The ICTY agreed last month to grant her release [JURIST report], citing good behavior and "substantial evidence of rehabilitation". Plavsic, known as the "Iron Lady," was the highest-ranking official from the former Yugoslavia to have pleaded guilty for her part in the Bosnian War.

Plavsic was originally indicted along with former Bosnian Serb leader Momcilo Krajisnik [ICTY materials; JURIST news archive], against whom she agreed to testify as part of her plea deal. At Krajisnik's 2006 trial, the ICTY found him not guilty on a charge of genocide for which prosecutors had requested a life sentence [JURIST report], instead sentencing him to 27 years imprisonment. His sentence was reduced to 20 years [JURIST reports] in March after the charges of murder, extermination, and persecution were overturned on appeal. Krajisnik was transferred [JURIST report] to the UK in September to serve the remainder of his sentence, making him the third ICTY prisoner to begin serving his sentence in the UK [BBC report] under the rules of the ICTY.

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