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Serbian War Crimes Court Sentences 4 in 1995 Srebrenica Killings

Serbia's war crimes court has imprisoned four former members of a Serb paramillitary group who were filmed killing six Bosnian Muslim captives after the fall of the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica.

In Belgrade, the presiding judge, Gordana Bozilovic Petrovic, called the murders a war crime against a civilian population.

The longest sentences, 20 years, were given to the former commander of the "Scorpions" paramilitary unit, Slobodan Medic, and his main accomplice. The court sentenced the only defendant who admitted participation to 13 years. Another Scorpions member received a five year term, while a fifth defendant was found not guilty.

The video of the killings surfaced in 2005, when it was shown at the war crimes trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Tuesday's court ruling is the first in Serbia to focus on the 1995 deaths in Srebrenica of about 8,000 Muslim men and boys. The massacre is widely considered the worst atrocity in Europe since the end of World War two.

In February, the International Court of Justice in The Hague cleared Serbia as a nation of direct responsibility for the Srebrenica genocide.

In a related development, the official news agency of the Serb Republic in Bosnia-Herzegovina (SRNA) says Srebrenica survivors have asked Bosnian authorities to make the July 11 anniversary of the massacre a national day of remembrance.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.