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ICTY acquits 2 former Serbian commanders of crimes against humanity

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) acquitted [press release; judgment summary, PDF] two former Serbian secret police officials Thursday for their involvement in war crimes during the Bosnian Civil War [JURIST news archive]. The court found that the prosecution failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused, Jovica Stanisic [case materials, PDF], a close ally of late Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic [JURIST news archive], and counter-intelligence official Franko Simatovic, planned or ordered crimes against humanity. The ruling was welcomed by Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, but disappointed victims of wartime atrocities as the acquittal means that no Belgrade government official has yet to be convicted of crimes committed during the Bosnian Civil War.

The ICTY began the war crimes trial of Stanisic and Simatovic in 2008, and the ruling comes just days after the court convicted [JURIST reports] six Bosnian Croat political and military leaders of crimes against humanity. Thursday's acquittal marked the most recent setback for the prosecutors at the tribunal. In February Serbian general Momsilo Perisic [ICTY profile] was acquitted [JURIST report] of war crimes in Bosnia and Croatia on appeal. That followed the acquittal [JURIST report] last year of Croatian general Ante Gotovina [BBC profile].

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