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Srebrenica Convict Granted Early Release

Wartime Bosnian Serb brigade commander freed after serving two-thirds of sentence.
By Rachel Irwin

A former officer in the Bosnian Serb army who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre has been granted early release.

Vidoje Blagojevic was freed from the Norwegian prison where he had been serving his sentence on December 22.

His request for early release had been granted in February 2012, but the decision remained confidential until December 27.

Blagojevic served as commander of the Bratunac Brigade of the Bosnian Serb army during the war. In 2005, he was found guilty of complicity to commit genocide and of aiding and abetting murder during the Srebrenica massacre, in which more than 7,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were murdered.

The conviction for complicity to genocide was dropped on appeal in 2007 and his sentence was reduced from 17 to 15 years.

In his February 2012 decision to grant early release, tribunal president Judge Theodor Meron found that Blagojevic had served two-thirds of his sentence, had played a “limited” role in the commission of crimes, and had demonstrated “very good behaviour” in prison. For these reasons, Judge Meron ruled that Blagojevic should be released at the end of 2012.

Rachel Irwin is IWPR’s Senior Reporter in The Hague.

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