Milomir Stakic was the top official of the Prijedor municipality in northwest Bosnia during the 1992-95 Bosnian war
15.24PM BST, 31 Jul 2003
An ex-Bosnian Serb mayor has received the first life sentence imposed by the war crimes tribunal in The Hague over crimes against humanity for ethnic cleansing in Bosnia in 1992.
Milomir Stakic was the top official of the Prijedor municipality in northwest Bosnia during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.
He was cleared of the gravest crime of genocide but convicted of persecution, extermination and murder of Bosnian Muslims and Croats in Prijedor.
Stakic was a member of the so-called Crisis Staff in the area, which masterminded the seizure of Prijedor in April 1992 and the expulsion and persecution of Muslims and Croats, judges said.
Bosnian Serb commander Radislav Krstic was convicted of genocide in a landmark verdict in 2001 for his role in the slaughter of up to 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995. He was sentenced to 46 years in jail.
Meanwhile, blood pressure problems were blamed for halting former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's trial again this week, UN judges have said.
Milosevic has been unable to attend his trial since last week and proceedings have been adjourned until late August when the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia returns from a three-week summer recess.
Judge Richard May told a brief hearing yesterday, which Milosevic did not attend, that he had not yet received a formal medical report on Milosevic's condition.
The former Serb leader has suffered from high blood pressure, flu and exhaustion since Europe's biggest international war crimes trial since World War Two opened in February 2002.
In May, judges gave the prosecution 100 trial days to wrap up their case against Milosevic, who is defending himself against charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo.
Yesterday, the judge said he had calculated that prosecutors had 62 trial days left to complete their case.