[JURIST] The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Friday upheld genocide convictions [judgment, PDF] for Vujadin Popovic and Ljubisa Beara for crimes perpetrated by Bosnian Serb forces during the 1995 Srebrenica massacre [JURIST news archive]. The Trial Chamber of the ICTY convicted seven senior Bosnian Serb officials [JURIST report], including Popovic and Beara, of war crimes in 2010 for their roles in the commission of the Srebrenica massacre. Popovic and Beara were convicted of genocide, extermination, murder and persecution and sentenced to life imprisonment. Following the verdict, Popovic, Beara and three others appealed the judgment. The Appeals Chamber upheld Popovic and Beara’s convictions for genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, violations of the laws or customs of war, and crimes against humanity, and their sentences of life imprisonment were affirmed [summary, PDF]. Two others had their sentences of 35 and 13 years imprisonment upheld, and one had his sentence of 19 years imprisonment reduced to 18 years. This ruling marks the first final judgment for genocide [AP report] handed down by the ICTY.
The ICTY [JURIST backgrounder] and the Balkan States continue to prosecute those accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Balkan conflict of the 1990s that left more than 100,000 people dead and millions displaced. Investigations of war crimes relating to the Bosnian-Serbian conflict are ongoing, and suspects are still being arrested and prosecuted. In July a Dutch court found the government responsible for 300 deaths [JURIST report] in the Srebrenica massacre. In January Ratko Mladic [JURIST news archive], former leader of the Bosnian Serb army during the Bosnian civil war, refused to testify [JURIST report] in the war crimes trial of fellow Bosnian Serb military leader Radovan Karadzic [BBC profile]. Earlier that month the appeals chamber for the ICTY upheld the war crimes convictions [JURIST report] of four Serbian military officials, but reduced the sentences for three of them.