Conflict & Justice

Momcilo Perisic, former Serbian general, convicted of war crimes

A United Nations court convicted the former Serbian general Momcilo Perisic of crimes against humanity and war crimes Tuesday in the Hague. He was sentenced to 27 years in prison.

The tribunal found Perisic, who was the head of the armed forces in Serbia and considered the architect of the Bosnian war, responsible for attacks on civilians by soldiers under his command, The New York Times reports. The attacks took place in Bosnia and Croatia during the 1990s.

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The tribunal ruled that Perisic provided crucial military aid to forces responsible for the infamous Srebrenica massacre as well as a shelling and sniping campaign against Sarajevo, the Associated Press reports. Some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were massacred in Srebrenica in 1995.

"The case against Gen. Momcilo Perisic was the first time the U.N. court convicted a civilian or military officer from Yugoslavia of war crimes in Bosnia, and underscored the Yugoslav army's far-reaching support for Serb rebels in both Bosnia and Croatia who committed the worst atrocities of the Balkan conflicts in the early 1990s," it states.

The conviction of Perisic, 67, comes months after war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic was handed over to the tribunal by the government in Serbia's capital, Belgrade. Mladic was indicted for genocide.

Perisic was an ally of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, but he turned against Milosevic after the Bosnia war, the AP states.

Milosevic was on trial in the Hague, but he died in his cell of a heart attack in 2006 before the trial ended.

There were mixed responses to the sentencing of Perisic, AFP reports. Serbia called it too excessive, and Bosnia called it too lenient.