[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Monday denied [decision, PDF] early release to former Bosnian Serb Assembly leader and convicted war criminal Momcilo Krajisnik [ICTY materials, PDF; JURIST news archive]. Krajisnik was sentenced [JURIST report] by the ICTY in 2006 to 27 years in a British prison for his role in the forced evacuation and displacement of several thousand Muslims and Croatians, including women and children, during the Bosnian war in 1992. Though British law dictates that Krajisnik should have been eligible for parole on April 2, ICTY President Patrick Robinson said his decision to deny early release was largely based on the severity of Krajisnik's crimes and the tribunal's treatment of similar convicts:
While Mr. KrajiSnik has displayed some evidence of rehabilitation, I am of the view that there remain significant factors that weigh against granting him early release. Mr. Krajisnik's crimes are of a very high gravity, involving a widespread displacement of the non-Serb population in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which caused great suffering. Moreover, in respect of the requirement that the President shall take into account the treatment of similarly-situated prisoners, the practice of the Tribunal is to consider the eligibility of a convicted person only after he has served two-thirds of his sentence; therefore, the fact that Mr. Krajisnik has only recently completed serving half of his sentence does not weigh in favour of his early release.The ICTY reduced [JURIST report] Krajisnik's sentence to 20 years in September 2009, transferring him to a UK prison to serve his time.
At his 2006 trial, the ICTY found Krajisnik not guilty on a charge of genocide for which prosecutors had requested a life sentence [JURIST report]. Krajisnik was initially indicted together with Biljana Plavsic [ICTY materials; JURIST news archive], the former Bosnian Serb president who was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2003 after testifying against Krajisnik. Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [ICTY materials; JURIST news archive], with whom Krajisnik worked closely, was arrested in 2008 [JURIST report] and currently faces war crimes charges before the ICTY.