THE HAGUE — The U.N. war crimes tribunal Friday sentenced a Bosnian Muslim, who in 1995 led the doomed defense of Srebrenica, to two years in prison for war crimes, but he will be released for time served.
Naser Oric had pleaded not guilty to six charges of war crimes, including murder and cruel treatment of Bosnian Serbs in 1992 and '93. He was in charge of forces who beat and killed Serb prisoners and set fire to Bosnian Serb villages.
The indictment against Oric alleged that military police under his command beat Serb detainees with metal bars, bats and rifle butts and pulled out teeth with pliers.
His arrest marked a milestone for the court, which has been accused by Serbs of being biased against them.
Oric was acquitted of four counts of failing to discharge his duties and of the destruction of towns and villages, but Judge Carmel A. Agius said he was guilty on two counts of failing to prevent murder and cruel treatment.
"We sentence you, Naser Oric, to two years of imprisonment," Agius said. Because Oric has been in custody since April 2003, the judge ordered his release.
Srebrenica, a Bosnian Muslim enclave in eastern Bosnia, became a byword for mass murder after Serb forces overran the town in July 1995 and massacred as many as 8,000 Muslim men and boys.