Bosnian Serb convicted of genocide in Srebrenica dies

February 10, 2017
FILE - In this Jan. 30, 2015 file picture Ljubisa Beara, right, enters the courtroom of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, Netherlands. The Bosnian Serb commander convicted of war crimes over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre has died in a German prison. He was 77. A spokeswoman for Berlin state's justice department told The Associated Press on Friday Feb. 10, 2017 that Ljubisa Beara died Feb. 8. (AP Photo/Michael Kooren, Pool, file )

BERLIN (AP) — Ljubisa Beara, a former senior Bosnian Serb security officer convicted of genocide by a U.N. war crimes tribunal for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, has died in a German prison, authorities said Friday. He was 77.

Beara, the security chief in the wartime Bosnian Serb army headquarters, died on Feb. 8, Peggy Fiebig, a spokeswoman for Berlin state’s justice department told The Associated Press. Fiebig was unable to say what the cause of death was but noted that Beara was “not in the best of health.”

Beara was one of two senior Bosnian Serbs convicted in 2010 of genocide for their role in the slaughter of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the eastern enclave of Srebrenica — Europe’s worst massacre since World War II.

Appeals judges at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in The Hague largely upheld the convictions in 2015, after which Beara was sent to Berlin’s Tegel prison to serve his life sentence. The ruling was the first final judgment of genocide by the U.N. court.

Bosnian Serb troops overran Muslim forces and thinly armed U.N. troops in the Srebrenica enclave in July 1995 following a years-long siege. They separated the men and the boys from the women and girls, killed most of the males and buried their bodies in hastily dug mass graves.

Forensic experts in Bosnia have identified more than 6,100 of the victims so far and their remains have been reburied at a memorial center near Srebrenica, where the victims were last seen alive.

Former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic and military commander Ratko Mladic also faced genocide trials over Srebrenica and other war crimes during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war.

Karadzic was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison, while Mladic’s verdict is pending.

The war ended with a U.S.-brokered peace deal in 1995.

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