Momcilo Perisic was found guilty of murder, persecution, and attacks on Bosnia and Croatia in the 1990s [EPA]

The highest-ranking officer of the former Yugoslav army has been jailed for 27 years by the UN tribunal at The Hague for war crimes.

General Momcilo Perisic, who served as chief of staff of the Yugoslav army during the Balkans conflict, was found responsble for murder, persecution and attacks on civilians in Bosnia and Croatia in the 1990s.

The tribunal found Perisic, 67, guilty of helping Serb troops plan and carry out war crimes, including the killing of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica and of the 42 month-long siege of Sarajevo.

Perisic was also convicted of failing to punish his subordinates for their crimes of murder, attacks on civilians, and injuring and wounding civilians during rocket attacks on Zagreb in Croatia.

He was also found guilty of securing financial and logistical support for Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia.

Criminally responsible

"Momcilo Perisic was found criminally responsible for aiding and abetting murder, inhumane acts, attacks on civilians and persecution on political, racial or religious grounds in Sarajevo and Srebrenica," Justice Bakone Moloto said.

Perisic becomes the first Belgrade official to be convicted for Serbia's role in the wars in Bosnia and Croatia, a role the regime in Serbia has always staunchly denied.

The court also found Perisic bore command responsibility for the shelling of Zagreb in 1995.

The tribunal found evidence that Perisic had had a "collaborative relationship" with Bosnian Serb military commander General Ratko Mladic, and "substantially aided his operations".

Perisic had kept General Mladic on the Yugoslav Army payroll list, and personally signed Mladic's promotion to the rank of colonel general in 1994.

Mladic is currently on trial at The Hague on charges of crimes including genocide.

But the tribunal did not find evidence that Perisic had "exercised effective control" over Mladic or any other Yugoslav Army officer serving in the Bosnian Serb army.

Mladic has been indicted for genocide by the Yugoslavia tribunal and was arrested in May this year.

Source: Agencies