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Yugoslav Army General convicted of war crimes

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has sentenced General Momčilo Perišić to 27 years imprisonment for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The former Chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army, the most senior role in the Army, was found guilty of 12 of the 13 charges levelled against him. 

Amongst those he was on trial for, were charges for his role in the Srebinica massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys, as well as the 42-month long siege of Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital.

General Perisic is the only senior Yugoslavian official to have been sentenced for his part in the Srebenica massacre, after the other defendant, former Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic died mid-trial.

Bakone Justice Moloto, the president judge said,

“Momcilo Perisic was found criminally responsible for aiding and abetting murder, inhumane acts, attacks on civilians and persecution on political, racial or religious grounds in Sarajevo and Srebrenica.”

The tribunal found that Perisic had provided “extensive logistical assistance" to ethnic Serb forces in Bosnia and Croatia including "vast quantities of infantry and artillery ammunition, fuel, spare parts, training and technical assistance".

Judge Moloto went on to say that this assistance "became more centralised, structured and co-ordinated during Gen Perisic's tenure".

The 573-page judgment said that,

“The crimes charged in this case were not perpetrated by rogue soldiers acting independently.

Rather, they were part of a lengthy campaign overseen by top (Bosnian Serb) officers on the Yugoslav Army’s payroll, including General Mladic.”

Prosecutor Mark Harmon also alleged that Perisic’s assistance played a major role in the massacres.

"He never personally killed anyone, he never personally set fire to a house in Bosnia and Croatia, [but he] aided and abetted those who did all these things.

This form of participation should not mitigate his responsibility.

Perisic was acquitted on a charge that he was directly responsible as a superior officer for the actions of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) in Srebenica.

The VRS was deemed to be under the control of General Mladic, one of the tribunal’s most wanted fugitives, who was arrested and transferred to The Hague after almost 16 years of hiding.

He will face charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.