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ICTY convicts 7 senior Bosnian Serb officials of war crimes

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Thursday convicted [judgment summary, PDF] seven senior Bosnian Serb officials [case materials] of war crimes against Bosnian Muslims committed during the 1995 Srebrenica massacre [JURIST news archive]. Military security chiefs Vujadin Popovic and Ljubisa Beara were convicted of genocide, extermination, murder and persecution and sentenced to life imprisonment. Security chief Zvornik Brigade was convicted of aiding and abetting these crimes and was sentenced to 35 years. Senior officials Ljubomir Borovcanin, Radivoje Miletic, Milan Gvero and Vinko Pandurevic were also convicted of various war crimes, including murder and forcible transfer, and face sentences ranging from five to 19 years in prison. The ICTY determined that the men convicted held leadership roles in the two joint criminal enterprises (JCE) that existed in eastern Bosnia in July 1995. One JCE was developed to "murder the able-bodied Bosnian Muslim men from Srebrenica" and the other to "forcibly remove the Bosnian Muslim population from Srebrenica and Zepa." The tribunal also found that at least 5,336 identified individuals were killed in the massacre, but the number could be as high as 7,826 since evidence before the ICTY was not encompassing. The judgment marks the largest trial conducted by the ICTY since its establishment in 1993.

The ICTY trial of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [case materials; JURIST news archive] is still ongoing. Karadzic is the alleged mastermind behind the violence against Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica. His trial resumed in April after the ICTY dismissed [JURIST report] Kardzic's latest motion to delay court proceedings, in which he argued that there had been a violation of his right to a fair hearing because the court had rejected previous evidentiary challenges. Karadzic's alleged co-conspirator, former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic [case materials; JURIST news archive] is still at large. Mladic's family is seeking to have the former military leader declared officially dead [JURIST report] by the Serbian government in order to collect his state pension and sell his property. Under Serbian law, an individual can be officially declared dead when he is over the age of 70 and no reliable information on his whereabouts has been discovered for five years. Mladic is 68, but his family is convinced he is no longer alive.

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