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Former head of Bosnian Serb parliament released from prison

Momcilo Krajisnik [ICTY materials; JURIST news archive], the former speaker for the Bosnian Serb parliament, returned to Bosnia Friday after being released from prison. Krajisnik, arrested in 2000, was convicted in 2006 [JURIST report] by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] for the persecution, deportation and forcible transfer of civilians from their homes during the Bosnian Civil War [JURIST news archive]. The ICTY granted early release [JURIST report] to Krajisnik in July, based partially upon evidence of Krajisnik's rehabilitation during his time in prison. Non-Serbs in Bosnia were outraged [AP report] by Krajisnik's welcome, which included people waving Serb flags through windows, honking horns and stopping at the main square, where Serbian nationalists songs were blaring from loudspeakers.

The ICTY had denied three of Krajisnik's previous requests for early release, most recently [JURIST report] last November. Krajisnik had previously been denied early release in 2011 and 2010 [JURIST report]. At Krajisnik's 2006 trial, the ICTY found him not guilty on a charge of genocide, for which prosecutors had requested a life sentence, but still sentenced him to 27 years [JURIST reports] imprisonment for various other war crimes. Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [JURIST news archive], with whom Krajisnik worked closely, was also arrested in 2008 and currently faces war crimes charges [JURIST reports] before the ICTY. Krajisnik was initially indicted along with Biljana Plavsic [JURIST news archive], the former Bosnian Serb president, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2003 after testifying against Krajisnik.

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