The appeals chamber for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Thursday upheld [press release] the criminal convictions of four Serbian senior officials stemming from the Bosnian Civil War [JURIST news archive], while reducing the sentences for three of them. Former Serbian prime minister Nikola Sainovic's sentence was reduced from 22 to 18 years imprisonment, while former Yugoslav army chief of staff Nebojsa Pavkovic's 22-year sentence was affirmed. Generals Vladimir Lazarevic and Sreten Lukic had their sentences reduced from 15 to 14 years and 22 to 20 years, respectively. The charges relate specifically to acts of sexual assault, killings and forcible displacement by Serbian forces in Kosovo between March and May 1999.
Last September the ICTY allowed Momcilo Krajisnik [JURIST news archive], the former speaker for the Bosnian Serb parliament, to return to Bosnia after being released from prison [JURIST report]. In August Danish judge Frederik Harhoff was removed [JURIST report] from the ICTY over claims of bias in a letter he wrote criticizing the court. The ICTY was created [pdf] in 1993 by UN Resolution 827 to adjudicate the alleged war crimes perpetrated in the region of the former Yugoslavia since 1991. The ICTY's term of prosecution has been extended until December 2014. Since its inception, the ICTY has convicted numerous war criminals for atrocities committed in the widespread violence of the Balkan region.The tribunal has been working through an immense caseload for the past 20 years and has recently delegated much of the war crime adjudication to the courts of individual Balkan nations.