A Sarajevo court upheld the jailing of a Bosnian Serb army officer over the 1995 Srebrenica killings but cut his sentence.The appeals chamber of the Bosnian state court endorsed the conviction of Slavko Peric, a former assistant commander, but reduced his prison sentence from 19 to 11 years.
It also quashed the conviction of a second defendant, Momir Pelemis, who had been sentenced to 16 years at the original court hearing, and ordered a retrial.
Pelic and Pelemis were originally convicted in October 2011 of assisting the commission of genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995.
The first trial ruled that Peric, former assistant commander for security with the Zvornik brigade’s first battalion, and Pelemis, former deputy commander with the same unit, assisted in the murder of at least 1,000 Bosniak men who had been transferred to the Pilica area from Srebrenica after the Bosnian Serb army attacked.
According to the charges, Pelemis and Peric were knowing participants in a joint criminal enterprise with a common plan to permanently and forcibly transfer from Srebrenica the entire Bosniak civilian population, and to capture, detain, forcibly transfer, summarily execute and bury the enclave’s able-bodied Bosniak men and boys.
During the men’s appeals, the prosecution asked for longer prison sentences, while the defence teams called for a release or retrial, saying that the original trial was not fair.
According to a court statement, Peric’s sentence was reduced because the appeals chamber sentenced him under Yugoslav rather than Bosnian law.
The old Yugoslav law was still in effect in 1995, when the Srebrenica massacre took place, while the Bosnian law was adopted in 2003 and carries harsher penalties.
The appeals chamber ruled that Pelemis must remain in custody pending his retrial.