Bosnian Serb war criminal given 20-year prison
term at sentencing today

Associated Press Writer

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- A war criminal
convicted of torturing and killing his neighbors
during the Bosnian conflict was sentenced to 20
years in prison today.

Dusan Tadic, 41, had been found guilty on May 7 of
five war crimes and six crimes against humanity
for atrocities in the Prijedor region of northwest
Bosnia in 1992. He had faced a maximum sentence of
life imprisonment.

Tadic stood calmly in court with a slight smile on
his face as presiding Judge Gabrielle Kirk
McDonald read out the sentences during a 12-minute

Describing Tadic's atrocities, McDonald said he
committed his crimes "intentionally and with
sadistic brutality, using knives, weapons, iron
bars, the butt of a pistol, sticks and by kicking
... tightening a noose around the neck of one of
  them until he lost consciousness. Why?'  

Tadic was sentenced to a total of 97 years for 11
separate convictions, but the longest term was 20
years and the other sentences were ordered to run

The charges against Tadic had detailed his
involvement in a notorious ethnic purge, including
the slashing deaths of two Muslim policemen and
herding civilians into three Serb-run prison camps
and returning to the camps to beat and torture

McDonald also described the ethnic hatred whipped
up by political leaders before Bosnia erupted into

''You responded to this campaign ... and you must
bear responsibility for your criminal conduct,''
she said.

''To condone your actions even when committed in
this context is to give effect to a base view of
morality and invite anarchy,'' McDonald said.

Tadic maintains his innocence and had appealed the
convictions. Unlike the post-World War II military
tribunals at Nuremberg and Tokyo, the Hague court
has no death sentence.

The only other war criminal convicted by the
Hague-based court is Drazen Erdemovic, a Croat who
took part in a July 1995 Bosnian Serb massacre of
unarmed Muslims at the U.N.-protected enclave of
Srebrenica in northeastern Bosnia.

Erdemovic pleaded guilty and was not put on trial.
He received a 10-year jail sentence.

Judges convicted Tadic, a karate expert and former
cafe owner with no military rank, after a
seven-month trial involving more than 120
witnesses and hundreds of exhibits.

Survivors of three notorious Serb-run camps in the
Prijedor region of Bosnia -- Omarska, Trnopolje
and Keraterm -- testified that Tadic regularly
visited the camps to torture inmates during the 3
1/2-year Bosnian war.

Prijedor was the scene of Thursday's raids by
British troops serving with the NATO-led peace
force in Bosnia in which one indicted suspect was
  arrested and another killed.  

About 2,000 Bosnian Serbs gave a hero's funeral
Sunday to Simo Drljaca, the 50-year-old former
police chief of Prijedor who had been indicted for
complicity in genocide. Drljaca allegedly helped
run detention camps at the start of the war in
1992. He was buried near Prijedor.

Tadic was cleared of nine murders but convicted of
the slashing deaths of two Muslim policemen. He
also was convicted of a string of beatings in the
camps and of playing a pivotal role in the
''ethnic cleansing'' of Prijedor in 1992, when
rebel Serbs drove Muslims and Croats from their
homes to the camps and often to their deaths.

German police arrested Tadic in February 1994 in
Munich. The Hague tribunal took over the case and
Tadic was transferred to the court's detention
unit in April 1995.

The Bosnian conflict came to a formal end with the
signing of the Dayton peace accord in December
1995 but tensions remain between the former
combatants: Bosnian Serbs, Muslims and Croats.

Some 35,000 NATO troops, about 8,500 of them
American, are in Bosnia to help implement the
peace accords.
EDITORS NOTE: For a good, comprehensive account of the Dusan Tadic trial, read Balkan Justice: The Story Behind the First War Crimes Trial Since Nuremberg by Michael P. Scharf, Carolina Academic Press.
hardcover ISBN: 0-89089-919-3
paperback ISBN: 0-89089-918-5
The hardback runs about $28.