UN tribunal sentences Bosnian Serb to life imprisonment

The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) today convicted a Bosnian Serb doctor of extermination and persecution of Bosnian Muslims, but acquitted him of genocide, and sentenced him to life in prison.Milomir Stakic had faced charges of genocide or complicity in genocide, murder as a violation of the laws or customs of war, and murder, extermination, persecutions, deportation, and other inhumane acts as a crime against humanity in conjunction with events that took place in Prijedor between 30 April and 30 September 1992.The doctor was accused of helping to set up a series of prison camps where more than 1,500 Bosnian Muslims were killed, women were raped and sexually assaulted, and thousands were subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, including routine beatings and torture.In handing down its decision, the trial chamber explained that it could not come to the conclusion that Dr. Stakic or other actors had the “necessary specific intent” to characterize his conduct as genocide or complicity in genocide. “The primary aim was to displace the non-Serb population in order to achieve the vision of a pure Serbian state,” presiding Judge Wolfgang Schomburg said, reading a summary of the judgment. “This intent to displace a population cannot be equated with an intent to destroy it as such.”The court did find, however, that the crimes of persecution and extermination constituted the core element of the criminal conduct of Dr. Stakic as alleged in the indictment. “The trial chamber is convinced that there was a persecutorial campaign based on the intent to discriminate against all non-Serbs or those who did not share the plan to consolidate Serbian control and domination of the Municipality of Prijedor,” Judge Schomburg said. “Dr. Stakic was one of the main actors in this persecutorial campaign and the trial chamber is satisfied that he had the requisite intent to discriminate against non-Serbs and those affiliated or sympathizing with them, because of their political and religious affiliations.”Dr. Stakic will be eligible for parole after 20 years.

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