Source AP ©

Bosnian Serb convicted of playing a key role in 1995 massacre

A former Bosnian Serb intelligence officer convicted of playing a key role in the 1995 massacre of up to 8,000 Bosnian Muslims has begun serving a 20-year sentence at a prison in Finland.

The U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia convicted Momir Nikolic in 2003 of persecution on political, racial and religious grounds, a crime against humanity. In exchange for a guilty plea and an agreement to cooperate with prosecutors, the tribunal dropped four other charges against him, including genocide.

As an intelligence officer in the Bosnian Serb army, Nikolic had a commanding role in supervising the transfer of civilians in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica to places where they were executed and then trying to cover up evidence of the crime, the tribunal said. The killings were Europe's worst atrocity since World War II.

Nikolic arrived in Finland on Wednesday, said Raili Matinpuro, a spokeswoman for the government's Criminal Sanctions Agency.

Finland is one of several countries that have agreed to take prisoners convicted by the tribunal, which is based in The Hague, Netherlands.