Bosnian Muslim relatives of victims of the 1992-95 war protested on Wednesday against UN war crimes court's decision to grant early release to a Bosnian Serb ex-president convicted of crimes against humanity.
The Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) announced Tuesday that Biljana Plavsic should be granted early release from her 11-year jail term for "good behaviour and apparent rehabilitation."
Tha Bosnian Serb "Iron Lady" was sentenced in February 2003 after she admitted playing a leading role in a campaign of persecution against Croats and Muslims during Bosnia's 1992-1995 war.
"They don't think about the blood of so many of our children, whom we are still digging out of mass graves," said Kada Hotic, a mother still searching for a son who went missing in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslims.
"Nobody feels sorry for them but they feel sorry for Plavsic, who spent her prison days very comfortably, writing books and memoirs," Hotic said.
Plavsic, a close associate of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, pleaded guilty at her trial to persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds.
The relatives and wartime detainees who came from across Bosnia also protested before the U.N. office in Sarajevo against the court's decision to trim the scope of the case against Karadzic, indicted for genocide in the Bosnian war.
Protesters carried banners and burned pictures of Karadzic and tribunal judges. They called for the resignation of tribunal judge O-Gon Kwon, who last week asked prosecutors to cut Karadzic's indictment to avoid an over-lengthy trial.
Zumreta Sehomerovic of an association of Srebrenica mothers said: "The Hague tribunal is politically corrupted, punishing the victims and awarding the criminals."
Last Mod: 17 Eylül 2009, 11:12
But while Bosnian Muslims, the biggest victims of the Serb massacre which more than 100,000 people were killed, were outraged at Plavsic's release, Bosnian Serbs celebrated.
Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Milorad Dodik on Wednesday travelled to Sweden, where Plavsic is being detained, to visit the woman who installed him as a prime minister after Karadzic left politics in the late 1990s.
Dodik caused public outcry last weekend when he denied hundreds of civilians were killed and wounded in the Bosnian Serb wartime shelling of the northern town of Tuzla and the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo in 1995.