The Hague: The UN war crimes tribunal sentenced the former leader of rebel Serbs in Croatia, Milan Martic, to 35 years in jail for ordering atrocities committed when rebel Serbs set up a breakaway state in Croatia.
Martic, 52, was found guilty on Tuesday of criminal responsibility for 16 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity including the murder, persecution, torture and deportation of Croats, Muslims and other non Serb civilians during the early 1990s.
Judges found Martic, acting in league with former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic had sought to create a greater Serbia, encompassing part of Croatia and large parts of Bosnia, by deporting tens of thousands of non-Serbs and igniting a systematic campaign against them.
In campaigning to be president of the breakaway province of Krajina, Martic said he would "pass on the baton to our all Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic".
He was also convicted for the unlawful shelling of the Croatian capital Zagreb in 1995, in which 7 people died and more than 200 were wounded.
"That order was given by me, personally..." Martic had said in a 1995 radio interview used as evidence during the trial.
However, Martic was cleared of extermination, as judges found it could not be proven that there had been an accumulation of separate and unrelated killings.