UN appeals court cuts sentence of Srebrenica officer

A UN appeals court in The Hague, Netherlands, today cut seven years from the 27-year sentence of a Bosnian Serb army officer convicted for his role in the massacre of more than 8,000 Muslims in the enclave of Srebrenica.

A UN appeals court in The Hague, Netherlands, today cut seven years from the 27-year sentence of a Bosnian Serb army officer convicted for his role in the massacre of more than 8,000 Muslims in the enclave of Srebrenica.

Momir Nikolic, 51, who was a local security and intelligence chief, pleaded guilty in 2003 to one count of persecution, as part of a plea bargain in which prosecutors agreed to drop genocide charges.

He was the first Serb officer involved in Srebrenica to confess.

The war crimes tribunal handed down a harsh 27-year sentence, citing the gravity of the crime against helpless civilians and Nikolic’s acknowledged role in transporting them to killing grounds and then trying to cover up evidence of the crime.

But the appeals court faulted the lower court for several errors, especially for relying on a faulty translation of Nikolic’s statement in which it understood him to say that “only” several thousand Muslims had been killed, which later was corrected to read “around” 7,000.

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