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Former Bosnian Serb policemen sentenced to 22 years in prison for war crimes

Judges for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Wednesday sentenced [judgment, PDF] two former Bosnian Serb police officers each to 22 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity during the war that spanned from 1992-95. Former interior minister, Mico Stanisic, and Stojan Zupljanin [ICTY materials], his subordinate, faced charges [JURIST report] of persecution, extermination, murder, deportation, and torture of Muslims and ethnic Croats, as part of a plan to establish "a Serb state, as ethnically 'pure' as possible." They were each found guilty on counts of persecution, murder and torture, while Zuplijanin was additionally convicted of extermination.

Wednesday's conviction is one of many decisions that have been made regarding the events of the Bosnian civil war [JURIST news archive], which left approximately 100,000 people dead and about 2.2 million homeless. Since its establishment in 1993, the ICTY has indicted more than 161 people for violations of humanitarian law committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 2001. A prosecution motion to have the cases of Stanisic and Zupljanin joined was granted in September 2008, and both men pleaded not guilty in November. Zupljanin was arrested in June 2008 by Serbian authorities and transferred [JURIST reports] to the ICTY for trial. Stanisic surrendered to the ICTY in March 2005. Stanisic was originally indicted by the ICTY in 2005, and Zupljanin was indicted in 1999.

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