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Bosnia war crimes court acquits genocide suspect

The appellate division of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina [official website] on Wednesday acquitted [press release; case materials] Serb wartime commander Milos Stupar of genocide [BiH Criminal Code Article 171, PDF] charges in connection with his alleged involvement in killings committed at the Srebrenica [JURIST news archive] prison camp in 1995. The verdict of the appellate court overturns a 40-year prion sentence stemming from a 2008 trial during which Stupar and six other war crimes suspects were were convicted of genocide [JURIST report] and given sentences ranging from 38 to 42 years. The trial court determined that Stupar had acted as commander of a special police force that had launched violent attacks against Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica. The appellate court overturned the sentence based on its finding that the evidence was not compelling enough to affirmatively establish Stupar's guilt. The evidence considered upon retrial suggested that Stupar did not gain control [Reuters report] until one day after the alleged genocide and therefore could not have taken any affirmative steps to prevent the killings.

The decision of the appeals court comes just weeks after the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] resumed the war crimes trial [JURIST report] of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [case materials; JURIST news archive]. Karadzic is the alleged mastermind behind the violence against Bosnian Muslims during the Bosnian war [PPU backgrounder]. The war crimes trial resumed last month after the ICTY dismissed [JURIST report] Kardzic's latest motion to delay court proceedings, in which he argued that there had been a violation of his right to a fair hearing because the court had rejected previous evidentiary challenges. Karadzic is defending himself against 11 counts [amended indictment, PDF], including genocide and murder.

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About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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