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Bosnia court releases war crimes convicts following Europe rights court ruling

The Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) state war crimes court [official website] on Tuesday released 10 prisoners connected to war crimes committed during the Bosnian Civil War [JURIST news archive] following a ruling [press relase, PDF] by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website]. Six of these individuals were convicted of genocide for their roles in the Srebrenica massacre [BBC timeline; JURIST news archive]. Two others were high-ranking Serbian officials convicted of establishing and training paramilitary squads. The other two, General Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic [case materials], are currently on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). They claimed they were denied access to courts because of a failure to follow proper procedure. The ECHR agreed, ruling that the convictions of these individuals violated Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF]. These individuals were serving sentences up to 33 years imprisonment. They will now be subject to a retrial.

The ICTY and the BiH war crimes court have continued to prosecute those accused of atrocities during the conflict. Last month, Bosnian police arrested [JURIST report] eight suspected war criminals. Also in October the BiH court reopened [JURIST report] criminal proceedings [press release] for a man convicted of war crimes in 2006, after the ECHR ruled that his rights were violated following his conviction of war crimes for atrocities against Croat civilians in 1993. In August the court sentenced [JURIST report] Goran Saric, a former police chief, to 14 years for crimes against humanity. In March the court convicted [JURIST report] a former paramilitary unit commander from Montenegro on multiple counts of murder, torture, rape and looting committed during the the civil war in the former Yugoslavia (1992-1995) and sentenced him to 45 years of imprisonment.

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