Today's Paper News Sports Features Business Opinion LEARNS Guide Newsletters Obits Games Archive Notices Core Values

The world in brief: Serbs see war-crime convictions expand

by Compiled by Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports | June 1, 2023 at 3:43 a.m.
Serge Brammertz, prosecutor of the United Nations’ International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, speaks to reporters Wednesday after an appeals panel increased the sentences for two former allies of late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic for involvement in crimes in Bosnia and Croatia in the 1990 Balkan wars, ouside of The Hague, Netherlands. (AP/Michael Corder)

Serbs see war-crime convictions expand

THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- U.N. appeals judges on Wednesday significantly expanded the convictions of two allies of late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, holding them responsible for involvement in crimes across Bosnia and in one town in Croatia as members of a joint criminal plan to drive out non-Serbs from the areas during the Balkan wars.

The appeals chamber at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals overturned their acquittals of involvement in the criminal plan and raised the sentences of Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic from 12 to 15 years.

Presiding Judge Graciela Gatti Santana said the two men, both now in their 70s, "shared the intent to further the common criminal purpose to forcibly and permanently remove the majority of non-Serbs from large areas of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina through the commission of the crimes charged in the indictment."

The appeals ruling brings to an end the longest-running war crimes prosecution dating back to the Balkan wars of the early 1990s.

Milosevic was put on trial for his alleged involvement in fomenting the bloody conflicts that erupted as Yugoslavia crumbled but he died in his cell in 2006 before verdicts could be reached.

The mechanism's chief prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, hailed what he called a "really important" ruling.

"This is the only decision we have with officials from Belgrade convicted as part of the joint criminal enterprise," he said.

Iran nuke queries resolved, reports show

VIENNA -- Iran has resolved two outstanding inquiries from the International Atomic Energy Agency over highly enriched uranium particles and a site where man-made uranium was found, according to confidential reports seen Wednesday by The Associated Press.

The agency reports ease pressure slightly on Tehran, which has been escalating its program for years since the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from its nuclear deal with world powers in 2018. However, it continues to amass more uranium nearer than ever to weapons-grade level, worrying nonproliferation experts.

The two confidential quarterly reports by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, distributed to member states of the organization, said inspectors no longer had questions on uranium particles found to be enriched to 83.7% at its underground Fordo facility. That had sparked tensions over the last several months as uranium enriched to 90% is weapons-grade material.

Iran had argued those particles were a byproduct of its current enrichment as particles can reach higher enrichment levels in fluctuations.

"The agency informed Iran that, following its evaluation of the data, the agency had assessed that the information provided was not inconsistent with Iran's explanation ... and that the agency had no further questions on this matter at this stage," the reports said.

The report said investigators also have closed off their investigation of traces of man-made uranium found at Marivan, near the city of Abadeh, some 325 miles southeast of Tehran.

Berlin tells Russia to close 4 consulates

BERLIN -- The German government said Wednesday that it has told Russia to close four out of its five consulates general in Germany in a tit-for-tat move after Moscow set a limit for the number of staff at the German Embassy and related bodies in Russia.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Christofer Burger told reporters in Berlin that the measure was intended to create a "parity of personnel and structures" between the two countries.

Russia has consulates in Bonn, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig and Munich, with Moscow deciding which four they will close and which one they will keep open.

The Russian government recently said that an upper limit of 350 German government officials, including those working in cultural bodies and schools, can remain in Russia. Burger said that this means Germany will have to shut its consulates in Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk and Kaliningrad by November. Only the embassy in Moscow and the consulate in St. Petersburg will remain open, he said.

He said that Russia will be allowed to continue operating the embassy in Berlin and one further consulate after the end of the year.

Typhoon aiming for Japan loses force

NAHA, Japan -- Typhoon Mawar appeared to be losing force as it headed Wednesday toward Japan's Okinawa Islands, where the United States maintains a significant military presence, after largely skirting Taiwan and the Philippines.

After tearing across Guam last week, Mawar passed by Taiwan on Tuesday with sustained winds of 96 mph and gusts of up to 118 mph, sending high waves crashing on the island's east coast.

In the Philippines, authorities said heavy rains were expected to continue in the country's north through at least Thursday and warned of flooding, possible landslides and gale-force winds before the typhoon exits the country's area of responsibility.

Mawar is expected to gradually pick up speed but steadily weaken and may be downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it is predicted to hit the area on Friday, Philippine forecasters said.

  photo  Family members watch the incoming waves Wednesday in Itoman, southern Japan. (AP/Hiro Komae)

Print Headline: The world in brief: Serbs see war-crime convictions expand


Sponsor Content