Serb general's sentence cut by 4 years

AP News
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Posted: Nov 12, 2009 4:57 AM

U.N. judges trimmed the sentence Thursday of a Bosnian Serb general from 33 to 29 years but upheld his convictions for leading troops who terrorized Sarajevo with a deadly rain of shells and sniper bullets.

The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal found 67-year-old Dragomir Milosevic guilty in December 2007 of five counts of murder, terrorizing civilians and inhumane acts.

Thursday's appeals chamber judgment upheld the guilty verdicts and the vast majority of findings underpinning them.

The judgment adds further weight to the prosecution case against former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. Prosecutors allege Karadzic was the "supreme commander" of Bosnian Serb forces throughout the 1992-95 war and say the Sarajevo siege is one of the key atrocities he oversaw.

The tribunal's appellate bench cleared Milosevic of three specific attacks _ two committed while he was receiving hospital treatment in Belgrade in August 1995 and one in which judges said it was unclear whether Serb troops or the Muslim-controlled Bosnian army had fired shells that slammed into a flea market in December 1994.

Milosevic was cleared of the notorious shelling on Aug. 28, 1995, that killed 37 civilians shopping at Sarajevo's Markale Market and wounded dozens more.

The appeals chamber also changed the underlying foundation of all Milosevic's convictions. It ruled there was insufficient evidence to convict him of planning and ordering the attacks, but it found him guilty of the same crimes based on his ultimate responsibility as commander of the 18,000-strong Sarajevo Romanija Corps of the Bosnian Serb Army which carried out the shelling and sniping.

"Milosevic did more than merely tolerate the crimes as a commander," Presiding Judge Fausto Pocar said. "In maintaining and intensifying the campaign directed at the civilian population in Sarajevo throughout the indictment period, he provided additional encouragement to his subordinates to commit the crimes against the civilians."

Prosecutors had asked the appeals panel to increase Milosevic's sentence to life imprisonment.

Gen. Stanislav Galic, Milosevic's predecessor as commander of the Sarajevo Romanija Corps, is already serving a life sentence.