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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 September 2006, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Profile: Momcilo Krajisnik
Momcilo Krajisnik
Momcilo Krajisnik's power almost equalled that of Radovan Karadzic
Momcilo Krajisnik is the highest-ranking Bosnian Serb politician so far tried with war crimes.

He was the right-hand man of Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and speaker of the separatist Bosnian Serb parliament.

He pleaded not guilty to eight charges, including plotting genocide by "cleansing" parts of Bosnia of Muslims and Croats to create an ethnically pure Greater Serbia.

He was accused of stirring up the Bosnian war, in which about 110,00 people were killed, and of masterminding some of its worst bloodshed, including attacks on villages and massacres in detention camps.

"Along with Karadzic, it was his hand that held the levers of power and authority" in Bosnia, prosecutor Mark Harmon said at the start of the trial.

He maintained his innocence throughout his trial, which began in February 2004, lasting more than two-and-a-half years and hearing from 124 witnesses.

Mr Krajisnik earned the nickname "Mr No" for his uncompromising stance in peace negotiations during the 1992-1995 war.
Srebrenica massacre grave
About 8,000 men and boys were killed in the Srebrenica massacre

His power was sometimes said to equal that of Mr Karadzic.

During their leadership, Serb forces laid siege to Sarajevo and purged Muslim and Croat populations from Serb-held territory.

They also overran two UN-designated "safe areas", executing thousands of unarmed men trying to flee the enclave of Srebrenica.

Like other leaders in the Bosnian conflict, Mr Krajisnik is rumoured to have enriched himself through illegal dealings during and after the war.

Pious

Mr Krajisnik, called Momo by his friends, was one of the first members of the nationalist Serb party, SDS, when it was formed in 1990.

He was speaker of the Bosnian parliament from 1990 to 1992, before the war began.

After the war, he served as the Serb representative on the three-member Bosnian presidency, along with a Croat and a Muslim.

But analysts say he largely used the position to thwart any reintegration between Bosnian-Serb and Muslim-Croat entities in Bosnia.

His early post-war strength was said to stem from his control of the hardline police and municipal authorities.

But he lost his bid for re-election in 1998 to a relatively moderate Serb leader, Zivko Radisic.

He was arrested in 2000 and sent to the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

His aides say he is a pious man, who considers separation based on ethnicity and religion to be natural.

But Amor Masovic, head of the Muslim commission for missing persons, described him as "one of the masterminds of the genocide and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia".

Embezzlement

Mr Krajisnik, a widower and father of three, came from a well-off farming family just outside Sarajevo.

After studying economics he joined a state-owned firm, Energoinvest, where he rose to become finance director of a unit making parts for nuclear reactors.

In 1983, Mr Krajisnik was convicted of embezzling Energoinvest funds, but was exonerated by a higher court after serving eight months in jail.

Mr Krajisnik said he had been persecuted for championing the Serb national cause against Bosnian Muslims and Croats who wanted to preserve Bosnia as a multi-ethnic republic.




SEE ALSO
Top Bosnian Serb goes on trial
04 Feb 04 |  Europe

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