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Former Bosnian Serb Politician Gets 32 Years


UN Tribunal Sentences Former Leading Bosnian Serb Politician To 32 Years' Jail

The United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia today sentenced the former prominent Bosnian Serb political leader Radoslav Brdjanin to 32 years in prison for torture, wilful killing and other crimes.

But the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), sitting in The Hague in the Netherlands, cleared Mr. Brdjanin of four of the 12 charges he faced, including genocide and extermination.

Three ICTY judges found Mr. Brdjanin guilty for his role in a campaign of ethnic cleansing in the Autonomous Region of Krajina (ARK), an area created by Bosnian Serbs as part of a self-styled state during the Balkan wars of the early 1990s.

They found there had been a systematic and strategic plan by the organizers of the Bosnian Serb state to remove Muslims and Croats from the ARK. They also said Mr. Brdjanin had taken part in a propaganda campaign against non-Serb groups.

The prosecutors had told the court that while Mr. Brdjanin had not physically carried out any of the crimes, he had "participated in a joint criminal enterprise" of ethnic cleansing.

The judges said that Mr. Brdjanin served as First Vice-President of the ARK Assembly and President of the ARK Crisis Staff, and later as a minister and acting vice-president in the Republika Srpska Government, and therefore exercised authority in the area.

Until his subsequent resignation, Mr. Brdjanin was also a member of the Serbian Democratic Party headed by Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who has also been indicted by the ICTY but remains at large.

In announcing the sentence, the judges gave Mr. Brdjanin five years' credit for the amount of time he has already spent in the ICTY's custody.

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