Court rejects early release request filed by convicted Bosnian Serb war criminal

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The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) rejected the request for early release and a pardon filed by Milan Lukic, currently serving a life sentence for war crimes committed in the Bosnian town of Visegrad in the 1990s.

According to the decision, Lukic requested early release, as well as a pardon, stating that serving his sentence in Estonia for eight years prevented him from seeing his children and arguing that this violates his human rights.

IRMCT President Judge Carmel Agius rejected Lukic’s request. “In the request, Lukic is also filing a series of submissions challenging the final verdict against him, claiming his innocence and that he was charged with a crime he did not commit,” Agius said.

“In deciding on Lukic’s previous request, my predecessor determined that ‘the Mechanism will consider Lukic eligible for early release after serving more than two-thirds of his 45 years, which is more than 30 years of his sentence,’” Agius said, adding that he does not intend to deviate from that decision.

“Considering that Lukic has served only about 17 years of his life sentence, he still does not meet the conditions for considering early release,” the decision said.

The Hague tribunal sentenced Lukic to life in prison in 2012 after he was found guilty of crimes against humanity. A member of a Bosnian Serb paramilitary unit, he was convicted for his involvement in massacres of civilians in and around the Bosnian town of Visegrad in 1992 and 1993, which included the massacres in Bikavac and Pionirska Street.

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