February 12, 2016 / 1:14 PM / 4 years ago

Srebrenica general died of natural causes, war crimes court says

Zdravko Tolimir, a Bosnian Serb general convicted of genocide in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, is escorted by U.N. security guards as he arrives in the courtroom of the the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal who delivered its judgment in his appeal case in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, April 8, 2015. REUTERS/Peter Dejong/Pool

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Bosnian Serb general Zdravko Tolimir, who was sentenced to life in prison for crimes including his role in the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica, died of natural causes this week, the court that convicted him said.

Tolimir, right-hand man to Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic, who is currently on trial at the Yugoslavia war crimes tribunal in The Hague, was awaiting transfer to prison when he was taken ill in the court’s detention center on Monday evening. The 67-year-old had suffered from heart disease.

“It was concluded that Mr Tolimir died of natural causes,” the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals said in a statement on Friday after an autopsy carried out by Dutch authorities. The MICT is the legal successor to the Yugoslavia tribunal, which is being wound down.

The slaughter in Srebrenica in 1995, carried out by Bosnian Serb troops seeking to carve out an ethnically pure Serb state in multi-ethnic Bosnia, triggered the Western air strikes that brought an end to the 3-1/2-year Bosnian war. It remains Europe’s worst massacre since World War Two.

Reporting By Thomas Escritt; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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