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Thursday, 2 August, 2001, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK
General guilty of Bosnia genocide
Radislav Krstic
Krstic denied the charges and plans an appeal
The UN war crimes tribunal has found a former Bosnian Serb general guilty of genocide in the 1995 murder of almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica.

Radislav Krstic was sentenced to 46 years in prison, but spared the eight life sentences demanded by prosecutors.


You were there, General Krstic... you are guilty of inflicting incredible suffering

Judge Almiro Rodrigues
It was the court's first conviction for genocide - the most serious of war crimes - in connection with the Bosnia war, and the toughest sentence it has passed so far.

The massacre in the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica - a designated UN safe haven - is regarded as Europe's worst atrocity since World War II.

"In July 1995 General Krstic, individually you agreed to evil. And this is why today this trial chamber convicts you and sentences you to 46 years in prison," said Judge Almiro Rodrigues.

Atrocity

Krstic, 53, is the first senior official linked with the massacre to be tried by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.

He looked tense and shocked as Judge Rodrigues read out the verdict.


His lawyer, Nenad Petrusic told reporters after the ruling that Mr Krstic would appeal against both the verdict and the sentence.

The general was seized by Nato troops in 1998. He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

However the trial chamber ruled that he took part in a decision to carry out the ethnic cleansing of the Srebrenica enclave, and that this in turn led to genocide.

The judge said Krstic was "guilty of the murder of thousands of Bosnian Muslims between 10 and 19 July 1995, whether these be murders committed sporadically or planned in the form of mass executions".

'Not forgotten'

In the five days after Bosnian Serb forces overran the town at least 7,500 Muslim men and boys are thought to have been killed.


You are guilty of the murder of thousands of Bosnian Muslims ... You are therefore guilty of genocide, General Krstic

Judge Almiro Rodrigues
Jim Landale, spokesman for the international tribunal, said the verdict "shows the victims of the Srebrenica massacre that the international community has not forgotten about them".

Krstic was second-in-command of the Bosnian Serb army's Drina corps, which spearheaded the attack on Srebrenica, an area that was officially under the protection of UN troops.

He was under the direct command of General Ratko Mladic who, along with wartime leader Radovan Karadzic, has been indicted for genocide for his alleged part in the massacre.

They remain at large and are the court's most wanted fugitives following the extradition of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague in June.

Responsibility

Delivering his verdict, Judge Rodrigues said the court "can accept you would not of your own accord have taken the decision to execute thousands of civilians and disarmed persons."

Srebrenica survivor examines victims' clothing
The judge described thousands of "amputated" lives
"Someone else probably decided to order the execution of all men of fighting age," he added.

Krstic's defence lawyers had argued that he was elsewhere at the time, preparing for the capture of the Muslim enclave at Zepa.

During his trial, Krstic said he was acting on the orders of other generals, including Ratko Mladic.

The BBC's Geraline Coughlan says the tough sentence may be seen as a warning to General Mladic and Mr Karadzic that one day soon they may face trial for the same crimes.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Angus Roxburgh
"Krstic faces 46 years in jail"
Jim Landale, International Criminal Tribunal
"It's a very significant conviction for us"
His Excellency Osman Top-chagic, Bosnian Ambassador
"It was not only Krstic who was responsible"
See also:

02 Aug 01 | Europe
Genocide verdict welcomed
02 Aug 01 | Europe
Srebrenica judgement: Excerpts
02 Aug 01 | Europe
Q&A: Srebrenica massacre
13 Mar 00 | Europe
Srebrenica: A survivor's tale
05 Aug 00 | Europe
Mladic blamed for Bosnia massacre
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