21 Jul 2009

Bosnian Serb commanders jailed for 'callous' burnings

7:34 am on 21 July 2009

Two Bosnian Serb military commanders have been found guilty of burning alive 140 civilians, including women and children, during the Bosnian civil war.

Cousins Milan and Sredoje Lukic were members of a paramilitary group called the White Eagles, or the Avengers.

They were accused of murder, persecution, extermination and other inhumane acts against Bosnian Muslims between 1992 and 1994.

Judges at The Hague have jailed Milan Lukic for life, and Sredoje Lukic for 30 years.

The two men had denied the charges, but the Hague Tribunal ruled that they locked up about 140 women, children and elderly men in two houses before setting fire to them.

The judges described the murders as callous and vicious.

The president of support group Women-Victims of War, Bakira Hasecic, said she hoped both men would be tried by Bosnia's own war crimes court for rapes and torture for which they were not indicted in The Hague.

"They only concentrated on the gravest crimes but it is only 5 percent of all the crimes they committed," said Ms Hasecic.