A UN war crimes court on Thursday sentenced two Bosnian Serbs to life in jail for the 1995 massacre of Muslims in Srebrenica.
Vujadin Popovic, and Ljubisa Beara, two former Serbian army chiefs of security, were found guilty of genocide, extermination, murder and persecution and received life terms, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) said in a statement.
"Popovic knew that the intent was not just to kill those who had fallen into the hands of the Bosnian Serb Forces, but to kill as many as possible with the aim of destroying the group," the ICTY's Trial Chamber II said.
A third Bosnian Serb officer was given a 35-year prison sentence for aiding and abetting genocide. Two others were acquitted of genocide charges but convicted of extermination, murder and persecution, while a final two officers were found guilty of lesser charges of war crimes.
Vujadin Popovic and Ljubia Beara, convicted of the worst crime in the war crimes statute, were high-ranking security officers with the Bosnian Serb army that overran Muslim forces and thinly armed U.N. troops in the Srebrenica enclave. Drago Nikolic, convicted of aiding and abetting genocide, was a brigade security commander.
All three were in the chain of command under Gen. Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb commander who remains a fugitive 15 years after his indictment.
Beara coordinated the murder of Muslim prisoners and organized their mass burials, the judgment said.
"Beara had a very personal view of the staggering number of victims destined for execution," it said. He "was intent on destroying a group by killing all the members of it within his reach."
Bosnian Serb forces commanded by Mladic killed thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys after the U.N.-protected "safe area" zone fell into their hands near the end of Bosnia's 1992-95 war.
Most were killed while trying to escape through the woods, or arrested and then taken to places of execution before burial in mass graves.
AgenciesLast Mod: 10 Haziran 2010, 15:49