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Bosnia: UN Court Reduces War Criminal's Sentence

The Hague, 26 January 2000 (RFE/RL) - UN appeals judges in The Hague have reduced the jail sentence against Bosnian Serb Dusan Tadic by five years, ordering him to spend 20 years in prison for the murder of Bosnian Muslim and Croat civilians in 1992. Today's ruling by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was the second and final appeal decision in the case. It ended the first international war crimes prosecution since the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials following World War II.

Reading out a summary of the verdict, Judge Mohammed Shahabuddeen said the original sentence against Tadic was too harsh given his relatively low position in the Bosnian Serb hierarchy.

On behalf of the five-justice tribunal, Shahabuddeen also said Tadic would get credit for the almost six years he spent in pre-trial custody in Germany and the Netherlands. Tadic was arrested in Munich in 1993 under an international warrant.

Tadic -- a Bosnian Serb reserve policeman -- was convicted of torture and murder at detention camps in Bosnia. His case -- which began in May 1996 -- was the tribunal's first and longest trial.