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Former head of Serbia's State Security Service Jovica Stanisic and his former deputy, Franko "Frenki" Simatovic, at The Hague on June 30. Photo: Piroschka Van De Wouw/ANP/AFP via Getty Images

A United Nations court on Wednesday convicted two wartime Serbian State Security officials for aiding and abetting war crimes committed by Serbian paramilitaries during Bosnia and Herzegovina's 1992–95 war, AP reports.

Why it matters: This is the final UN trial at The Hague for crimes committed during the breakup of Yugoslavia. It's the first time that high-ranking wartime Serbian government officials have been convicted for crimes committed in Bosnia, per the New York Times.

State of play: Jovica Stanisic, the former head of Serbian State Security, and Franko Simatovic, his former deputy, were each sentenced to 12 years in prison for helping to ethnically cleanse non-Serbs from the Bosnian town of Bosanski Samac.

  • Stanisic and Simatovic were accused of "running a joint criminal enterprise" to ethnically cleanse non-Serbs from areas of Bosnia and Croatia.
  • Wednesday's conviction is more narrow, focusing only on one Bosnian municipality, while the court said there wasn't enough evidence to link them to a wider set of similar crimes in other parts of Bosnia and Croatia.
  • This concludes a retrial of their case — they were initially acquitted in 2013 — but the judgment can be appealed, according to AP.

What they're saying: "The trial chamber is satisfied that the accused provided practical assistance which had a substantial effect on the commission of the crimes of murder, forcible displacement and persecution committed in Bosanski Samac and were aware that their acts assisted in their commission,” Presiding Judge Burton Hall said, per AP.

  • “The convictions of Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic are steps forward in ensuring accountability for those most responsible for the atrocity crimes committed during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia,” said chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz, per Balkan Insight.

Go deeper

Sep 28, 2021 - Axios Denver

Colorado's violent crime rate hits 25-year high

Expand chart
Data: FBI; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The estimated number of violent crimes in Colorado last year spiked to its highest level in 25 years and exceeded the national rate for the third straight year, according to statistics released Monday by the FBI.

Why it matters: The findings, some of which are approximates, bolster initial data showing a surge in violent crime in Denver and across the state throughout the pandemic.

Updated 30 mins ago - Health

COVID cases and deaths keep falling

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

America’s coronavirus outbreak is rapidly improving as the Delta wave recedes, and vaccines for kids — which could become available within weeks — will help the situation improve even further.

By the numbers: Nationwide, the U.S. is now averaging about 79,000 new cases per day — a 22% drop over the past two weeks.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 31 mins ago - Economy & Business

How the pandemic caused a corporate rebound

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

WeWork becomes a public company today worth more than $9 billion — a vindication of the expensive turnaround strategy employed after it spectacularly imploded in 2019. Like many companies that find themselves at death's door, that which didn't kill them made them stronger.

Why it matters: Hertz, Alamo Drafthouse, Airbnb, and Toast are among the currently-thriving companies that were shaken to the core in the early days of the pandemic — providing further evidence for the theory that, in the words of former Fast Company editor Bill Taylor, "companies can't be great unless they've almost failed."