UK & World News

  • 12 December 2012, 16:21

Bosnian Serb Commander Jailed For Genocide

A former senior Bosnian Serb Army commander has been jailed for life for his role in Europe's worst massacre since World War Two.

Judges at the UN court in The Hague said that General Zdravko Tolimir was the "right hand" of Bosnian Serb military chief General Ratko Mladic.

Mladic is considered the chief architect of the murder of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys at the Srebenica enclave in eastern Bosnia in July 1995.

Tolimir, 64, is the latest Serb soldier to be convicted in the bloody Bosnian war between 1992 and 1995, which left around 100,000 dead.

Mladic and his political master Radovan Karadzic are still on trial for overseeing Serb atrocities throughout the war, including the Srebrenica massacre.

Presiding Judge Christoph Fluegge said: "The accused not only had knowledge of genocidal intent of others but also possessed it himself.

"He is therefore responsible for the crime of genocide."

Judge Fluegge added: "The suffering these men went through in the moments leading up to their deaths must have been unbearable.

"On many occasions those waiting to be shot saw others executed."

Tolimir stood, crossed himself three times and removed his glasses, but showed no emotion when he was told he would spend the rest of his life in prison.

Before the judgement was read, he told the court: "I wish for these proceedings to be concluded in accordance with God's will."

He was the top Bosnian Serb intelligence officer and a trusted aide of Mladic.

Bosnian Serb forces overran Srebenica in 1995 despite the presence of Dutch UN peacekeepers who - outgunned and outnumbered - put up virtually no resistance.

Women were bussed away from the area before the Muslim men and boys were rounded up, taken to remote locations, executed and their bodies put into mass graves.