Bosnian Serb war criminal hospitalized after assault at British prison

By Raphael G. Satter, AP
Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bosnian Serb war criminal assaulted in UK prison

LONDON — A Bosnian Serb war criminal serving time for his role in the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica was assaulted by fellow inmates Friday at a high-security prison in northern England, officials said.

Radislav Krstic was hospitalized after an attack by three inmates at Wakefield prison, about 190 miles (300 kilometers) north of London, an official at Britain’s Justice Ministry told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with policy.

Neither the nature of assault nor its motive was divulged, although Krstic’s son-in-law, Mladen Djurovic, told Serbia’s Tanjug news agency that the former general was attacked “by Islamists” in the prison.

Krstic was convicted of aiding and abetting the murder of up to 8,000 Muslims in the U.N.-protected enclave of Srebrenica by the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in 2001.

The massacre occurred when Serb forces overwhelmed the town’s hopelessly outgunned Dutch protectors and rounded up its inhabitants. At a car battery factory on the edge of town, men and boys were separated from women and girls, then hauled away, forced to strip — and shot one by one. Their wives and children were deported.

The slaughter was Europe’s worst civilian massacre since World War II. Prosecutors said Krstic not only provided troops for the atrocity but also participated in meetings during which senior officers laid out their murderous plans.

His genocide conviction was the first in Europe since it became a crime under international law.

Krstic was transferred to Britain from The Hague in 2004. He is currently serving out a 35-year prison sentence at Wakefield, which houses around 700 prisoners, many of them serious sex offenders.

Djurovic, the son-in-law, said Krstic suffered head and neck injuries although his current condition was unclear. An official reached by phone at the nearby Pinderfields General Hospital said late Friday that Krstic had since been released. She refused to go into detail, citing privacy issues.

Krstic’s lawyer Tomislav Visnjic told the agency he will ask the Hague tribunal that Krstic be transferred to some other prison because British authorities “are obviously incapable” of protecting him.

Associated Press Writer Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Serbia, contributed to this report.

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