UN tribunal for former Yugoslavia considering plea deal for Croatian Serb

Milan Babic, the president of the self-declared Republic of Serbian Krajina in 1991-92, pleaded guilty today to one count of crimes against humanity – persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds – before three judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.Mr. Babic, 47, entered the guilty plea as part of a plea deal with prosecutors, who then asked the ICTY to dismiss the four other charges – murder, cruel treatment, wanton or militarily unnecessary destruction of villages, and destruction or damage to educational or religious institutions – against him.Judges Alphons Orie of the Netherlands, Amin El Mahdi of Egypt and Joaquín Martín Canivell of Spain said they would give their decision at a later date. They can accept or reject the plea agreement. Prosecutors have also requested that Mr. Babic be given a sentence of no more than 11 years in jail.Mr. Babic, who had been indicted by the ICTY in November, is alleged to have “participated in a joint criminal enterprise” that aimed to forcibly and permanently remove the majority of the Croat and other non-Serb population from one-third of the territory of Croatia during the early 1990s.