No announcement yet.

UN Court Jails Bosnian Serb 'Iron Lady' for 11 Years

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    UN Court Jails Bosnian Serb 'Iron Lady' for 11 Years

    Do you guys think this sentence justifies for what horrific crime she has committed??

    THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The Hague tribunal sentenced former Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic to 11 years in jail on Thursday for a crime against humanity in one of the most significant judgments by the U.N. court in a decade.

    Plavsic, dubbed the "Iron Lady," is the most senior politician to be sentenced by the court. The 72-year-old gave an unprecedented "mea culpa" last year, changing her plea to guilty to one count of crimes against humanity in the Bosnian war.

    The former academic looked tense as the verdict was read out. Dressed in a green jumper and blue blazer, she stood as the presiding U.N. judge pronounced sentence. A large gold cross hung prominently around her neck.

    "Mrs. Plavsic disregarded reports of widespread ethnic cleansing and publicly rationalized and justified it. No sentence which the trial chamber passes can fully reflect the horror of what occurred," presiding judge Richard May said.

    Plavsic, a stalwart in the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), admitted responsibility for atrocities against Muslims and Croats in the Bosnian war. About 200,000 people are estimated to have been killed or went missing in the conflict.

    She rubbed shoulders with fellow Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic -- one of the tribunal's most wanted men -- as Serbs, Croats and Muslims fought a brutal war after the collapse of communism in Yugoslavia.

    Prosecutors had urged a sentence of 15 to 25 years for Plavsic, the highest-ranking figure to admit to atrocities and the only woman publicly indicted by the tribunal. The defense said that would be tantamount to a life sentence for her and urged no more than eight years.

    The court's three judges took into account that Plavsic had contributed to peace and reconciliation by working to implement the 1995 Dayton Peace Accord, showed remorse, had pleaded guilty and surrendered voluntarily to the court, judge May said.


    The sentence, less than a quarter of the 46 years imposed by the court in 2001 on former Bosnian Serb general Radislav Krstic after he was convicted of genocide for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, provoked outrage in Bosnia.

    "I am speechless. I cannot talk at all. I am shivering. I am completely shaken," said Mujesira Memisevic, whose husband and children were killed during a Bosnian Serb ethnic cleansing campaign in eastern Bosnia.

    Judith Armatta from the Coalition for International Justice commented: "I imagine many victims will be distressed and feel that it's not sufficient. I think the court wanted to make a strong statement about her attempts for reconciliation."

    The court still has to decide where Plavsic will serve her sentence. Nine European countries provide prison places for war criminals convicted by the tribunal. They include Italy, France, Spain, Germany and Sweden.

    Plavsic initially pleaded innocent to numerous counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes after surrendering to The Hague tribunal in January 2001.

    But last October she changed her plea to guilty on one count of persecution on racial, religious and political grounds -- a crime against humanity -- saying she was filled with remorse.

    Other counts were dropped.

    Biljana Plavsic sentance is long enough that it will mean that she will die in prison, which is satisfying enough. But she was quite secondary in the ruling structure in the Bosnian Serb establishment at the time of the genocide of Muslims, and the leading war crimnals like Karadzic and Mladic remain at large. It was they who led the genocide of upto 300,000 Muslims in a religious-ethnic campaign of genocide not seen in Europe since WW2, and with the blessing of the Serbian Orthodox Church. These Serb political and military leaders as well the Church leaders need to be brought to justice.