Page last updated at 16:35 GMT, Friday, 12 June 2009 17:35 UK

Bosnian Serb jailed for massacre


A court in Sarajevo has imprisoned a former Bosnian Serb officer for 25 years for ordering the 1995 shelling of Tuzla, an attack that killed 71 people.

Novak Djukic was found guilty of war crimes against civilians.

A single shell was fired at the centre of the mainly Muslim town of Tuzla on 25 May 1995, despite it having been declared a United Nations "safe zone".

Gen Djukic, who became the Bosnian Serb army's chief of staff, retired in 2005 and was arrested two years later.

The war crimes department of the Court of Bosnia-Hercegovina found that, as a regional commander during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, he had been responsible for ordering an artillery unit stationed on nearby Mount Ozren to shell Tuzla.

Any attack on Tuzla, a UN safe zone, represented an attack on civilians
Darko Samardzic
Court of Bosnia-Hercegovina

"One projectile hit the very centre of the town... killing 71 people and injuring more than 150," said Darko Samardzic, the court's president.

"Any attack on Tuzla, a UN safe zone, represented an attack on civilians."

The shell struck the Kapija district, which was popular among local youths. Most of the victims were aged between 18 and 25. The youngest was a two-year-old boy.

Mr Samardzic said the court was aware that the sentence would be regarded as mild by relatives of the victims and too harsh by Gen Djukic's supporters.

Hilmo Bucuk, a parent of one of those killed that day, said the prevailing mood among the families was one of satisfaction but that they had hoped for a life sentence.

"We do have a verdict, but our children are gone," he told reporters.

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