Bosnian Serb war criminal gets 20-year sentence
July 14, 1997
Web posted at: 2:56 p.m. EDT (1856 GMT)
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (CNN) -- International prosecutors
hailed Monday's prison sentence of Bosnian Serb war criminal
Dusan Tadic as a milestone, saying it proved that war
criminals can be held accountable by an international court.
But Serb leaders said the verdict proved an anti-Serb bias by
The United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague found
Tadic guilty on 11 counts of crimes against humanity. The
longest prison term was 20 years and the other sentences were
ordered to run concurrently.
Judges said Tadic should serve at least 10 years. However,
plans for an appeal are already under way, and the final
outcome of the Tadic case may not be known for up to a year.
Survivors of three notorious Serb-run prison camps in the
northwestern Prijedor region of Bosnia -- Omarska, Trnopolje
and Keraterm -- had testified that Tadic regularly visited
the camps to torture inmates during the Bosnian war.
Presiding Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald said the former
karate teacher and cafe owner had carried out the crimes
"intentionally, and with sadistic brutality, using knives,
whips, iron bars, the butt of a pistol, sticks and by ...
tightening a noose around the neck of one of them until he
The judge said the sentence against Tadic was justified by
the nationalism and lack of scruples shown by the accused.
"You carried out these acts with extreme brutality. You also
identified with the extreme principles of Serbian
nationalism. Now you must accept responsibility for your
criminal behaviors," she told Tadic.
Tribunal deputy prosecutor Graham Blewitt described the court
ruling as "a substantial sentence" and said it marked "a
significant step in the work of the tribunal."
However, Tadic's attorney said the international court
"I think that it is a very severe sentence and I think that
what the court does is to place the defendant really at the
top of the ladder. The fact is he was a very small player,"
attorney Nikola Kostich said.
A Bosnian Serb government member, deputy justice minister
Goran Neskovic, criticized the sentence as an anti-Serb
propaganda war. And Momcilo Krajisnik, the Serb member of
Bosnia's multi-ethnic collective presidency, said on Monday
that the court had passed a "political sentence."
Krajisnik is said to be a close ally of indicted war crimes
suspect Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb president.
And hard-line Serbs are concerned that Western countries led
by the United States will become more aggressive in enforcing
the U.N. court's indictments, and may try to arrest Karadzic
and his wartime army commander Ratko Mladic.
Observers say there are signs that such actions may be
building, following last week's capture of a suspected
Bosnian Serb war criminal by United Nations-led forces. A
second suspect was shot dead in the operation.
On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov said he
did not want to see a repeat of what Moscow called "cowboy
raids." Primakov said Russia considered the swoops by NATO as
counter-productive and he maintained they did nothing to
improve the situation in the region.
Correspondent Jackie Shymanski
and Reuters contributed to this report.
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