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Sweden releases war criminal Plavsic

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Sweden releases war criminal Plavsic
09:59 CEST+02:00
Bosnian Serb war criminal Biljana Plavsic is to be released from a Swedish prison later this month after serving two thirds of an 11-year-sentence.

Plavsic, 79, was sentenced in February 2003 to 11-years behind bars after she admitted playing a leading role in a campaign of persecution against Croats and Muslims during Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

She is the highest ranking official of the former Yugoslavia to have acknowledged responsibility for atrocities committed in the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

"The International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has in a decision on September 14th 2009 consented to the conditional release of Mrs Plavsic in accordance with Swedish law," the justice ministry said.

"She is to be released on 27 October 2009."

The ICTY cited the good behaviour and apparent rehabilitation of the woman once dubbed the Bosnian Serb "Iron Lady".

Under Swedish law, she becomes eligible for release from October 27, after serving two-thirds of her term.

Sweden's TT news agency said Plavsic has been moved to a prison in the centre of Stockholm ahead of her release. She has been serving her sentence at a women's prison west of the capital.

Plavsic surrendered to the tribunal in January 2001 after it had issued an indictment for genocide, extermination, murder, persecution, deportation and inhumane acts.

She struck a plea agreement with prosecutors in October 2002 in which she "admitted to supporting and contributing to achieving the objective of the permanent removal of ethnic populations by force."

She had expressed remorse and a behavioural report showed she had "exhibited good behaviour" in prison, the ICTY said. "She has participated in the institution's walks and she also occupies herself by cooking and baking."

Victims of Bosnia's war, however, have described the decision as unjust -- although Bosnian Serbs say they are planning a warm welcome.

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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