February 28, 2013 / 3:16 PM / 6 years ago

Appeal judges overturn conviction of former Yugoslav army leader

Momcilo Perisic (L), the former chief of staff of the Yugoslav army, enters the court room of the Yugoslavia war crimes court in The Hague, to hear the verdict of the court Sept 6, 2011. REUTERS/Peter Dejong/Pool

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - U.N. war crimes court judges on Thursday overturned the conviction of the former chief of staff of the Yugoslav army, acquitting him of charges of aiding and abetting crimes committed in Bosnia and Croatia during the Yugoslav wars.

Judges said Momcilo Perisic, who was head of the Yugoslav army from 1993, had not directed ethnic Serb forces in Bosnia to use military aid sent from Belgrade for the commission of crimes. They also said he had not been in a position to discipline soldiers for shelling the Croatian capital Zagreb.

Prosecutors had accused Perisic of helping Serb forces to commit war crimes during the bloody break-up of Yugoslavia, including the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica and the siege of Sarajevo, in which more than 10,000 died.

Reporting By Thomas Escritt

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