Babic jailed for persecution of Croats

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The Independent Online

A United Nations court has sentenced Milan Babic, a leading political figure during the Balkan wars, to 13 years in prison for inflaming an ethnic cleansing campaign that led to the deaths of hundreds of Croats and the expulsion of tens of thousands from Croatia.

A United Nations court has sentenced Milan Babic, a leading political figure during the Balkan wars, to 13 years in prison for inflaming an ethnic cleansing campaign that led to the deaths of hundreds of Croats and the expulsion of tens of thousands from Croatia.

The judgment, coming as the defence case of the former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic is set to commence, sought to strike a balance between punishing the "savagery" of the crime and rewarding Babic's willingness to testify against his former political allies.

In January, the court convicted Babic, 48, formerly one of Mr Milosevic's closest allies, of one count of persecution for the campaign against non-Serbs in the self-proclaimed Croatian Republic of Krajina in which about 200 civilians were killed and 80,000 non-Serbs expelled.

Babic pleaded guilty to the single count in a deal in which prosecutors dropped four other charges of murder, cruelty and the wanton destruction of villages when the Serbs rebelled after Croatia broke away from Yugoslavia in 1991.

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