Plavsic asks Sweden for pardon

A request for a pardon for former Bosnian Serb president and war criminal Biljana Plavsic, who is serving an 11-year sentence in Sweden, has been submitted to Swedish authorities, the justice ministry said Tuesday.

“A request for pardon has come in and is being handled,” ministry spokesman Rickard Wessman told AFP.

The details of the request were not disclosed.

But according to Swedish news agency TT, the request was accompanied by a letter from the Bosnian ambassador to the United Nations, Milos Prica, dated September 6 in which he appealed for Plavsic, 76, to be released on humanitarian grounds.

The letter said Plavsic’s prison conditions in Sweden were “poor” and that because of her advanced age and poor health she ought to be moved either to a prison with better conditions or released outright, TT reported.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague sentenced Plavsic in February 2003 after she admitted playing a leading role in the campaign of persecution against Bosnian Croats and Muslims during the country’s 1992-95 war, which claimed more than 200,000 lives.

She is the highest ranking official of the former Yugoslavia to have acknowledged responsibility for the atrocities committed in the Balkan wars.

Sweden agreed to house Plavsic in one of its prisons in response to a request from the tribunal.

She was transferred to Sweden in June 2003 and is an inmate at the Hinseberg women’s prison.

The justice ministry would not provide any details on the handling of the pardon application, but TT said the ministry would send the request to Plavsic for a comment and a decision would take several months.