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Yugoslav army chief gets 27-year prison sentence for war crimes

Momcilo Perisic, a former Chief of General Staff of the Yugoslav army, has been jailed for 27 years for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovinia and Croatia in the 1990s.

Momcilo Perisic enters the courtroom in The Hague to hear the court's verdict.
Momcilo Perisic enters the courtroom in The Hague to hear the court's verdict.
Image: Peter Dejong/AP/Press Association Images

A FORMER CHIEF in the Yugoslav army has been handed down a 27-year prison sentence for crimes committed during the wars in Bosnia and Croatia in the 1990s.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia convicted Momcilo Perisic of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to 27 years of imprisonment today.

Perisic was found guilty of aiding and abetting murders in Bosnia and Herzegovinia and Croatia between 1993 and 1998, when he was the most senior officer in the army.

He was also convicted for carrying out inhumane acts and persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds.

The 67-year-old was also found him guilty of of failing to punish his subordinates for their crimes of murder, attacks on civilians and injuring and wounding civilians during rocket attacks on Zagreb in May 1995.

He had pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.

Collaboration with General Mladic

The Hague court also found that he was involved in attacks on civilians in Sarajevo and Srebrenica. UN judges said he provided crucial help to Bosnian Serbs as they carried out crimes against humanity. This assistance included everything from “vast quantities of infantry and artillery ammuniction, fuel and spare parts” to “training and technical help”.

However, the former chief was acquitted of charges of command responsibilty in relation to crimes carried out in Sarajevo and Srebrenica. The presiding judges found that although he had a “collaborative relationship” with General Mladic, he did not exercise “effective control” over him.

Today’s judgment is the first handed down by the Tribunal in a case against a Yugoslav official for crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Commenting on the 27-year sentence, the tribunal said the Bosnian Serb Army’s crimes lasted over a long period of time and the victims were numerous and particularly vulnerable.

It added that Gernal Perisic continued to provide assistance to the army for months after being informed of the massacre in Srebrenica, during which 8,000 Bosnian men and boys were killed.

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