Yugoslav army chief conviction overturned by UN tribunal


Momcilo Perisic, the former chief of staff of the Yugoslav army, sits during his appeal judgement in the court room of the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal (ICTY) in The Hague on February 28, 2013.


Koen van Weel

Serbian general and army chief Momcilo Perisic, who commanded the Yugoslav army during the Bosnia and Croatia wars, has had his crimes against humanity conviction overturned.

According to BBC News, Perisic, 68, was found guilty after a trial in 2011 and sentence to 27 years in prison. He was convicted of aiding and abetting crimes, but was found not to have a direct role in the Srebrenica massacre. He always maintained his innocence and insisted he was not aware of the atrocities that had occurred.

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When Presiding Judge Theodor Meron announced that the conviction was overturned, Perisic's only reaction was to look down and raise his eyebrows, reported the Associated Press. He was ordered released immediately.

"Mr. Perisic was not proved beyond reasonable doubt to have facilitated assistance specifically directed towards VRS (Bosnian Serb army) crimes in Sarajevo and Srebrenica," Meron said, according to Agence France-Presse. "Instead, a reasonable interpretation of the record is that VJ (Yugoslav army) aid facilitated by Mr. Perisic was directed towards the Bosnian Serb army's general war effort rather than VRS crimes."

Because of Perisic's acquittal, there are now no officials from the Yugoslav republic that have been convicted for crimes in Bosnia.