UN tribunal transfers Bosnian Serb convicted over Srebrenica massacre to Finland

UN tribunal transfers Bosnian Serb convicted over Srebrenica massacre to Finland

Momir Nikolic
A senior security and intelligence officer in the Bosnian Serb army who was sentenced to 20 years’ jail for his role in the 1995 massacre of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica will serve the rest of his sentence in Finland after being transferred today by the United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Momir Nikolić, 52, became the 26th person to be transferred by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which sits in The Hague in the Netherlands, to another European country to serve out the remainder of his custodial sentence.

As a result of agreements signed by countries and the ICTY, men or women convicted by the Tribunal are now serving their sentence in Austria, Germany, Spain, Norway, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, France and the United Kingdom.

Mr. Nikolić pleaded guilty in May 2003 to one count of crimes against humanity (persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds) after prosecutors agreed to drop other charges and Mr. Nikolić agreed to testify in other trials at the ICTY. The trial chamber later sentenced him to 27 years’ jail, but the term was reduced on appeal in March last year.

A teacher by profession, Mr. Nikolić was mobilized into the Bosnian Serb forces and rose to become the Assistant Commander for Security and Intelligence in its Bratunac Brigade by 1995.

At his trial, the judges found that Mr. Nikolić attended three meetings at which Bosnian Serb military leaders determined the fate of Muslim civilians from the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica, which had been previously declared a UN safe area.

The enclave was overrun by the Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995 and at least 7,000 men and boys were murdered, while thousands of women and children were deported to other areas.

The ICTY found that Mr. Nikolić recommended possible detention and execution sites, supervised some deportations and separations, and later coordinated the exhumation and reburial of Muslim bodies, this ensuring that key evidence was destroyed and many families still do not know the whereabouts of their murdered relatives.