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article imageEx-army officer convicted of Srebrenica massacre dies in jail: report

By AFP     Feb 10, 2017 in World

Ljubisa Beara, a former senior Bosnian Serb army officer jailed for life for genocide over the 2005 Srebrenica massacre, has died in a German prison aged 77, Bosnia media reported Friday.

Beara, who held key posts in the Bosnian Serb army at the time of the worst atrocity committed on European soil since World War II, died on Thursday, Bosnian Serb public broadcaster RTRS reported, citing an ex-serviceman’s group.

Some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed and their bodies dumped in mass graves during the massacre, which became a symbol of the horror of the 1990s Balkan wars that accompanied Yugoslavia's collapse.

Bosnian Serb police and the military packed the prisoners into a warehouse and began shooting and throwing grenades, according to the prosecutor and court hearings.

Bosnia's inter-ethnic war between its Muslims, Croats and Serbs claimed some 100,000 lives while 2.2 million people -- almost a half of the pre-war population -- were displaced.

Beara was condemned to life imprisonment in 2010 along with six other defendants, including Lieutenant Colonel Vujadin Popovic in one of the biggest trials at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.

Their sentences were upheld on appeal in 2015.

Beara and Vujadin were sentenced to life on genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity charges.

Beara had turned himself in to the ICTY in 2004 after two years on the run following his indictment.

The Hague tribunal has charged 20 people in total over the Srebrenica massacre, including former Serb military chief Ratko Mladic as well as Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb political leader during the 1990s war who was sentenced last year to 40 years in prison for genocide and crimes against humanity.

Former Serb strongman Slobodan Milosevic was found dead of a heart attack in his prison cell in The Hague in March 2006.

There was no word on Beara's cause of death.

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