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Bosnian Serbs hail war criminal's release

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07:57 CEST+02:00
The Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Milorad Dodik praised the decision of the UN war crimes court to grant early release to Biljana Plavsic, a convicted was criminal serving time in a Swedish prison.

The prime minister was speaking on Wednesday of the decision after the former Bosnian Serb visited her in a Swedish jail, according to local media reports.

"We are satisfied and happy since Mrs (Biljana) Plavsic will be next month... finally released from jail," Dodik told the Bosnian Serb SRNA news agency by telephone from Sweden, where she is serving her sentence.

"Plavsic feels well and is happy due to The Hague(-based) court decision," he added.

During his visit to Plavsic, Dodik was accompanied by an Orthodox bishop and a minister of his government.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) announced on Tuesday that Plavsic should be granted early release from her 11-year jail term for good behaviour and apparent rehabilitation.

Under Sweden's law the 79-year-old becomes eligible for release from October 27th, after serving two-thirds of her term. The tribunal has the final say in the matter.

The Bosnian Serb "Iron Lady" was sentenced in February 2003 after she admitted playing a leading role in a campaign of persecution against Croats and Muslims during Bosnia's 1992-1995 war.

She is the highest ranking official of the former Yugoslavia to have acknowledged responsibility for atrocities committed in the 1990s wars that accompanied the former federation's break up.

Her release provoked outrage from Muslim and Croat war victims but was welcomed by Bosnian Serbs.

Postwar Bosnia consists of two semi-autonomous entities - the Serbs' Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation. Each has its own government and they share barely functioning central institutions.

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