Former Bosnian commander cleared of war crimes charges


A former Bosnian military commander was acquitted of murdering three Serb fighters during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War by a court in Sarajevo on Monday.

Naser Oric, 50, a former brigadier in Srebrenica and a former junior officer called Sabihudin Muhic, were accused of killing the three Bosnian Serb POWs in 1992.

However, the court acquitted the pair, leading to a strong reaction from Serbia.

In 2006, Oric was given a two-year sentence by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for failing to prevent crimes committed against Serbs in 1992 and 1993.

That verdict was overturned on appeal in 2008.

Serbia issued an arrest warrant for Oric in 2014, charging him with the same crimes.

Oric is popular in Bosnia for commanding government forces in the Srebrenica enclave in the east of the former Yugoslav republic.

Srebrenica later became the site of a genocidal attack by Bosnian Serb forces in which more than 8,000 Muslims were murdered.

Speaking on Monday, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic claimed the acquittal of Oric proved the lives of Serb civilians were not as valuable as the lives of other people.

He said it was a sign that Serbia would always have to fight for justice itself.

However, Vucic, speaking at a news conference after meeting the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs Christos Stylianides, urged Serbs to maintain good ties with neighboring Bosnians.

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