Friday, February 27, 2009
Here's a press release from the United Nations on convictions (and one acquittal) at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
UN TRIBUNAL CONVICTS FIVE TOP SERBIAN OFFICIALS OF WAR CRIMES IN KOSOVO
The United Nations war crimes tribunal set up after the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s today convicted five former high-ranking Yugoslav and Serbian officials for crimes against humanity, while former Serbian president Milan Milutinović was acquitted of all charges. Today’s judgment is the first of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for crimes by Yugoslav and Serbian forces against Kosovo Albanians during the 1999 conflict in Kosovo.
Prosecutors charged the six defendants with crimes committed during a campaign of terror and violence that aimed to change the ethnic balance in Kosovo to ensure Serbian authorities’ control through criminal means, including deportations, murder and forcible transfers. Former Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Šainović, Yugoslav Army General Nebojša Pavković and Serbian police General Sreten Lukić were each sentenced to 22 years in prison for crimes against humanity and for violating the laws or customs of war. Meanwhile, Yugoslav Army General Vladimir Lazarević and Chief of the General Staff Dragoljub Ojdanić were found guilty of aiding and abetting the commission of a number of charges of deportations and forcible transfer of the Albanian population, for which they each received 15-year sentences.
The trial chamber found, after analyzing evidence, that there was a broad violence campaign against Albanian civilians in Kosovo during NATO airstrikes in the Yugoslavia that began on 24 March 1999. This campaign was carried out by army and Interior Ministry police forces, under the control of Yugoslav and Serbian authorities, the ICTY found. It was former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milošević, not Mr. Milutinović, who had direct individual control over the Yugoslav Army during the NATO campaign, the Tribunal said, acquitting the latter on all counts.