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The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal sentenced the former chief of the Yugoslav army to 27 years imprisonment Tuesday for providing crucial military aid to Bosnian Serb forces responsible for the Srebrenica massacre and for a deadly four-year campaign of shelling and sniping in Sarajevo.

The case against Gen. Momcilo Perisic was the first time the U.N. court convicted a civilian or military officer from Yugoslavia of war crimes in Bosnia, and underscored the Yugoslav army's far-reaching support for Serb rebels in both Bosnia and Croatia who committed the worst atrocities of the Balkan conflicts in the early 1990s.

The link between the disintegrating Yugoslav federation and Serb forces in the breakaway republics has been a matter of dispute and was the keystone of the trial in The Hague of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. But that trial ended without a conclusion when Milosevic died in his cell in 2006 of a heart attack.

The former Yugoslavia is now divided up into independent states that include Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia.




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