UNITED Nations appeals judges yesterday upheld most of a Bosnian Serb army general’s convictions and his life sentence for involvement in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide.
General Zdravko Tolimir smiled and repeatedly crossed himself as Yugoslav war crimes tribunal president Judge Theodor Meron told him that his life sentence was confirmed on appeal.
Tolimir was convicted in December 2012 of genocide and other crimes in the 1995 massacre by Bosnian Serb forces of some 8,000 Muslim men in Srebrenica, eastern Bosnia – Europe’s worst mass killing since World War Two. He was a trusted aide of former Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic. Witnesses at trial called him Mladic’s “right hand. His eyes and ears,” judges said in their original judgment.
Judge Meron overturned elements of Tolimir’s genocide conviction linked to forcibly transferring Muslims out of the town of Zepa near Srebrenica, as well as parts of his convictions for murder and extermination linked to specific small-scale killings – but stressed most of his convictions remained.
“In light of these genocide convictions alone, the appeals chamber considers that Tolimir’s responsibility does not warrant a revision of his sentence,” he said.
During his trial, judges highlighted a number of incidents at Srebrenica including a massacre at a warehouse where 1,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered.