News 28 Jul 17

Hague Tribunal Denies Bosnian Serb General Early Release

The UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague refused Bosnian Serb general Radivoje Miletic’s request for early release because he has not served two-thirds of his sentence, according to the court’s reckoning.

Filip Rudic
BIRN
Belgrade
Radivoje Miletic in court in The Hague. Photo: ICTY.

The Mechanism for International Tribunals in The Hague on Thursday rejected the request for early release filed by Bosnian Serb general Radivoje Miletic, who is serving an 18-year sentence for committing crimes against humanity in Srebrenica in 1995.

Theodor Meron, the president of MICT, said that Miletic will only have served two-thirds of his sentence in May 2018, and not February 2017, as suggested by the Justice Ministry in Finland, where Miletic is imprisoned.

The Hague Tribunal considers that serving two-thirds of a prison sentence is the main prerequisite for early release.

The difference in reckoning stems from the rules of the Tribunal, which does not count the 444 days Miletic spent on temporary release towards the total number of days he spent serving the sentence.

Judge Meron also cited the severity of the crimes of which Miletic was convicted as an argument in favour of rejecting his request.

Miletic, chief of operations and training and deputy chief of staff of the Bosnian Serb Army, was found guilty for crimes against humanity and sentenced to 19 years in prison in 2010.

His sentence was reduced from 19 to 18 years on appeal in 2015.

According to the court, Miletic had full knowledge from an early stage of a plan to kill or expel all the Bosniaks from the Srebrenica and Zepa.

The Bosnian Serb Army killed over 8,000 Bosniaks after it entered Srebrenica in 1995, and the massacre has been declared an act of genocide by international courts.

The court found that a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population commenced with the issuing of a directive by wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic in March 1995.

Miletic, the court concluded, participated in formulating this directive, which set out the “criminal plan” for an attack on the UN- protected ‘safe areas’ of Srebrenica and Zepa.

Miletic was at the centre of coordination between the Bosnian Serb Army’s main staff and forces on the ground, reporting to military and political leaders Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic and receiving all the orders that were issued.

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