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UN prosecutors demand life sentence for ex-Yugoslav army chief

UN prosecutors on Tuesday demanded that ex-Yugoslav army chief Momcilo Perisic [ICTY profile, PDF] receive a life sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Perisic is on trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website], charged [indictment, PDF] with eight counts of crimes against humanity and five counts of war crimes. The charges [JURIST report] include murder, persecution on grounds of politics, race, or religion, and unjustified attacks on civilians in the early 1990s in conflicts with Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. As well as being held individually responsible for these acts, Perisic was also charged with command responsibility for the actions of his subordinates under Article 7(3) [text, PDF] of the ICTY Statute. Closing arguments are expected to conclude this week.

Perisic's trial began [JURIST report] in October 2008. ICTY Prosecutor Mark Harmon said Perisic was one of the "principal collaborators" of late Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic [JURIST news archive], claiming in his opening statement that Perisic "created an environment of impunity, wherein his subordinates were encouraged and did persist to commit crimes, knowing there would be no consequences." Perisic turned himself in to the UN in 2005, surrendering to officials [JURIST reports] from the ICTY.

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