First Srebrenica Genocide Convict Seeks Early Release Again

5. February 2024.11:41
Former Bosnian Serb Army officer Radislav Krstic, the first person to be convicted by the Hague Tribunal of involvement in the Srebrenica genocide, has asked again to be freed after his previous requests were denied.

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Radislav Krstic on trial in The Hague in October 2000. Photo: EPA/REUTERS/POOL/FRED ERNST

Radislav Krstic, wartime commander of the Bosnian Serb Army’s Drina Corps, has asked the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in The Hague to grant him early release, arguing he is eligible because he has already served more than two-thirds of his 35-year sentence for his role in the 1995 genocide of Bosniaks from Srebrenica.

The request to the UN court filed by Krstic’s lawyers, Tomislav Visnjic and Vladimir Petrovic, said that he accepts the gravity of the crimes of which he was convicted and that he has apologised to the surviving victims.

It also said that Krstic intends to file a comprehensive declaration of acceptance of responsibility and remorse.

In the request, his lawyers pointed out that Krstic is nearly 76 and in poor health, and asked for his psychological condition, conduct and rehabilitation be evaluated so the head of the court can understand his need for an early release.

The lawyers also recalled how, while serving his sentence in Britain in 2010, Krstic was attacked and had to serve the rest of his sentence in a prison in Poland.

His attackers, who were all serving murder sentences, were convicted by a British court and given additional life terms.

“Krstic claims that the injuries and trauma he suffered during the attack while in prison in the United Kingdom should be taken into account when considering his early release in this phase. This was a far greater penalty than the one foreseen by the [Hague Tribunal’s] Appeals Chamber [when sentencing Krstic],” his lawyers argued in the request to the court.

The prosecution is opposing Krstic’s early release. It stated in a submission to the court that his request “is devoid of argument and filed without any evidentiary support”.

Previous requests from Krstic for early release have been rejected by the UN court.

Krstic was convicted in 2004 of aiding and abetting genocide – the first person to be sentenced for Srebrenica crimes by the Hague Tribunal.

Since autumn last year, he has been serving his sentence at the UN Detention Unit in The Hague after being transferred from Poland.

Lamija Grebo

This post is also available in: Bosnian