Muslim Wire

Serbian ‘Iron Lady’ to be released from Swedish prison

Posted in Politics, Society by muslimwire on October 27, 2009

SARAJEVO, October 27 (RIA Novosti) – Former Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic will be released from a Swedish prison on Tuesday after serving two-thirds of her 11-year term for war crimes in the 1990s.

The Swedish authorities earlier confirmed an early release of the 79-year-old former Bosnian Serb politician following a decision by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.

According to media reports, the decision met with protests by Bosnian Muslim relatives of victims of the 1992-95 war, but was celebrated by Bosnian Serbs.

Plavsic was president of Republika Srpska for two years, from 1996 through 1998, and was convicted of crimes against humanity in February 2003 after surrendering to the ICTY in January 2001.

Besides being the highest-ranking Bosnian Serb politician to be sentenced, she was also known for her fiery nationalist statements during the War in Bosnia.

In 1992, a widely-circulated photographed showed her stepping over the body of a dead Muslim civilian to kiss the notorious Serb warlord Zeljko Raznatovic, also known as Arkan.

The former university professor is the only woman to be sentenced by the ICTY since its establishment in 1993.

According to the Serbian media, Plavsic, who may still face persecution in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, “will be flown to Belgrade on a government plane, accompanied by the Prime Minister of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik.”

The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is primarily inhabited by Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats, while Serbs constitute 88% of the population in the Republika Srpska, although both entities are two main political-territorial divisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Meanwhile, another former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, failed to appear for the start of his trial on war crimes and genocide charges at The Hague’s International Criminal Tribunal on Monday.

Karadzic, 64, maintains he needed at least nine more months to prepare his defense. He is defending himself against charges that include the massacre of some 7,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995.

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