SARAJEVO: A Bosnian Serb political leader who was jailed for 20 years by a UN court for his role in Bosnia’s 1990s war died on Tuesday of coronavirus, state media reported.
Momcilo Krajisnik, a former key ally of the Bosnian Serbs’ wartime political leader Radovan Karadzic, passed away in a hospital in the northern town of Banja Luka, the hospital said in a statement quoted by the public RTRS television. During Bosnia’s 1992-1995 conflict Krajisnik, a hardline Serb nationalist who was fiercely anti-Muslim, served as speaker of the Bosnian Serb parliament.The 75-year-old was taken to hospital in late August as his health deteriorated.
Krajisnik was arrested in Bosnia in 2000 and six years later convicted by the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) of forcibly expelling non-Serbs and crimes against humanity.
The war, which pitted Bosnia’s Croat, Muslim and Serb communities against each other, claimed some 100,000 lives and forced 2.2 million people, half the country’s pre-war population, to flee their homes.
Krajisnik’s initial 27-year sentence was later cut on appeal to 20 years and in 2013 he was granted early release from a British prison.
He received a hero’s welcome from several thousand fellow Serbs upon returning to the Bosnian Serb wartime stronghold of Pale.
The country’s communities are still sharply divided a quarter of a century after the war.Karadzic himself is serving a life sentence for genocide and other atrocities.