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The curious case of the Balkan war criminals

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Almost 30 years ago, Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic trained and directed militias that committed some of the worst atrocities of the post-Cold War era.

In the Balkan wars, their militias are alleged to have conducted massacres at hospitals, razed villages and shot prisoners to help cleanse Bosnia and Croatia of non-Serbs.

Last week, Stanisic and Simatovic — the chief and deputy chief, respectively, of Serbia’s state security services in the 1990s — were sentenced for their crimes by the U.N. tribunal established in 1993 to judge the war crimes committed during the violent breakup of Yugoslavia.

This long overdue verdict, says the tribunal’s supporters, shows that international law is capable of meting out justice to the perpetrators of the atrocities in the Balkan wars. The late Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic died in 2006 during his trial at The Hague, while an earlier verdict against a Serb general was overturned in 2013.

The U.N. website for the tribunal........

© The Japan Times

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