The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has just handed out its toughest ever sentences. Two security chiefs in the Bosnian Serb army, Vujadin Popovic and Ljubisa Beara, have both been convicted for committing genocide in the Srebrenica massacre, and sent to prison for life. Five other defendants were gaoled for between five and 35 years.
In April 1993, the UN declared Srebrenica a safe haven, but it was protected only by a small unit of troops. In July 1995, the Bosnian Serb army took the town. They bussed out all the women, and the men aged under 16 or over 65. The remaining men – nearly 8,400 of them - they massacred.
The Srebrenica massacre was the worst in Europe since World War Two. The court said that Popovic and Beara were acting under orders from General Ratko Mladic, who is wanted for trial but still at large.
The judgement also declared the massacre was part of "a widespread and systematic attack against a civilian population" begun on the orders of Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic, who is now on trial before the tribunal at The Hague. See also my blogs of 16 October, 2009 and May 11, 2010.