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World Briefing / The Netherlands

Ex-Bosnian Serb president released

September 16, 2009|Times Wire Reports

The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal announced it had approved the early release from prison of former Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic after she served two-thirds of her 11-year sentence for persecution.

The decision means that one of the most senior political leaders ever convicted by the United Nations court in The Hague could walk free as early as next month from the prison in Sweden where she has served most of her sentence.

Plavsic, 79, was sentenced in 2003 after pleading guilty to a single count of persecution, a crime against humanity, as part of an ethnic cleansing campaign to drive Muslims and Croats out of Serb-controlled areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

As part of a plea bargain, other charges, including genocide, were dropped.

The campaign destroyed 850 Muslim and Croat villages and included 1,100 documented cases of mass murder, prosecutors said. A campaign of destruction of sacred sites laid waste to more than 100 mosques and seven Catholic churches.

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