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Tribunal Reduces Jail Term Of Bosnian Serb

UN Tribunal Reduces Jail Term Of Bosnian Serb After Upholding Part Of Appeal

The United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia today reduced the prison sentence of a Bosnian Serb after upholding part of his appeal against convictions for his role in the killings of five Muslim men in June 1992.

Mitar Vasiljevic will now serve 15 years in jail, instead of 20, after the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia ( http://www.un.org/icty/latest/index.htm ICTY) set aside his convictions for murder, persecution and being a co-perpetrator of a joint criminal enterprise.

The ICTY's Appeals Chamber replaced those convictions with a conviction as an aider and abettor and dismissed the rest of Mr. Vasiljevic's appeal.

Mr. Vasiljevic was convicted in November 2002, and sentenced a month later, for his part in the deaths of five Muslim men in the Visegrad region of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 7 June 1992.

The Trial Chamber found Mr. Vasiljevic was present when a Serb paramilitary unit led by Milan Lukic forcibly transported seven Muslim men, detained from the nearby village of Musici a month earlier, to the eastern bank of the Drina River, where they were shot. Five men died while two survived by falling into the river and pretending to be dead.

Four of the five judges in the Appeals Chamber found the Trial Chamber had made several factual errors in the case.

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