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Sweden To Release Bosnian Serb War Criminal

Former Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic in The Hague in 2003
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -- Sweden will release former Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic next week, two-thirds into an 11-year jail term for war crimes, the government has said.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, which convicted Plavsic in February 2003, consented last month to grant her an early release, a decision met with protests by Bosnian Muslim relatives of victims of the 1992-95 war but celebrated by Bosnian Serbs.

Plavsic, 79, was one of three members of the presidency of the Republika Srpska, headed by Radovan Karadzic, who is due to go on trial at the tribunal on October 26 on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including genocide at Srebrenica.

She will be released from prison on October 27 and will be free to leave the country, a Justice Ministry spokeswoman said.

Plavsic pleaded guilty to persecutions on political, racial, and religious grounds by "inviting paramilitaries from Serbia to assist Bosnian Serb forces in effecting ethnic separation by force." Charges of genocide, extermination, and murder were dropped as part of a plea bargain.

People convicted at The Hague tribunal do not serve their sentence there, but are transferred to prisons outside the Netherlands to serve their time.