20 Years For Tadic

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands: The U.N. war crimes court sentenced Dusan Tadic, a Bosnian Serb war criminal convicted of torturing and killing his neighbors, to 20 years in prison today. The sentence is the first imposed by the war crimes court after a full trial since World War II. In delivering the court's decision, Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald said Tadic beat his victims "intentionally and with sadistic brutality," using among other things, knives and iron bars as torture weapons. Goran Neskovic, the deputy justice minister in the Bosnian Serb government, objected that the court demonstrated an anti-Serb bias and that Tadic is "not guilty and not a single witness could confirm that he was responsible." TIME's Central Europe Bureau Chief Massimo Calabrisi reports that while Tadic may be small time, the evidence shows he is anything but innocent. As a result, today's sentence will most likely stick. "There is little question that the ethnic cleansing of Serb held Bosnia was organized at very high levels, of which Tadic was not a part. However, the only reason it was carried out was because there were people like Tadic who on the local level were willing to ethnically cleanse their towns of people they often knew. So while he may not be responsible for organizing the campaign of ethnic cleansing, there is no question, according to the evidence, that he took part in it."