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WarCrimes-Bosnia 05-09

Officer’s conviction reversed

U.N. appeals judges today overturned a conviction for complicity in genocide against a Bosnian Serb army colonel whose troops were involved in the 1995 slaughter of more than 8,000 Muslim men in Srebrenica.

Col. Vidoje Blagojevic, 56, was the wartime commander of the Bratunac brigade that took part in the worst post-World War II massacre in Europe by helping separate Muslim men from women and herding them into buses before the men were driven away and later murdered.

Blagojevic was convicted in January 2005 of war crimes and complicity in genocide and remains in jail, though his sentence was reduced from 18 to 15 years.

A five-judge appeals panel at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal said Blagojevic should have been acquitted on the genocide charge because the original trial judges ruled that he did not know of the mass murders and only provided logistical support. That meant he did not share in the intent to commit genocide, said presiding appeals judge Fausto Pocar.

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