The Hague: The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal on Wednesday convicted two senior Bosnian Serbs of key roles in a campaign of murder, torture and persecution against Muslims and Croats during the 1992-95 Bosnian war and sentenced each to 22 years in prison.
Mico Stanisic was the interior minister in the breakaway Bosnian Serb republic set up during his country`s bitter war, while Stojan Zupljanin was a senior security official in charge of police.
Prosecutors had sought life sentences for both men after charging them with involvement in a criminal conspiracy led by Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic and his military chief, General Ratko Mladic, to force Muslims and Croats out of what they considered to be Serb territory in Bosnia.
Presiding Judge Burton Hall said both men were in a position to prevent or punish crimes and neither did as Serb police and paramilitaries went on a rampage in early 1992, killing and mistreating non-Serbs as they tried to carve out a "Greater Serbia" during the bloody break-up of Yugoslavia.
Zupljanin stood and crossed himself as Hall said he was guilty of persecution, extermination, murder and torture.
Stanisic stood stoically as he was convicted of persecution, murder and torture but was acquitted of extermination.
Both Karadzic and Mladic are still on trial at the UN court on charges including genocide for allegedly masterminding the slaughter, persecution and mass deportation of non-Serbs during the Bosnian war, which left more than 1,00,000 people dead.