Bosnian Serb cousins Milan and Sredoje Lukic were convicted by a United Nations war crimes court on Monday of crimes involving burning alive and killing Bosnian Muslims during the 1992-1995 war.
U.N. judges delivered verdicts Monday in the case of two Bosnian Serb cousins accused of atrocities that allegedly included twice locking scores of Muslims into houses and torching them.
Milan Lukic, 41, who prosecutors said led a Serb paramilitary group known as the "White Eagles" or "Avengers," was sentenced to life in prison for the burning and killing of at least 119 Bosnians in two separate incidents in June 1992.
His cousin Sredoje Lukic, 48, who prosecutors said was also a member of the unit, was given 30 years imprisonment. The court ruled it had not been proved that he was present at one of the attacks.
The victims were first robbed, some of the women reportedly raped, and those who tried to escape the flames through the windows were shot.
At one of the houses, it was Milan Lukic who closed the door on the victims and threw an explosive device into the room, the court found. In the other, he "used the butt of his weapon to push people inside the house."
These incidents, for one of which Sredoje Lukic was also present,
"exemplify the worst acts of inhumanity that a person may inflict upon others," said Robinson, as Milan fidgeted in his chair and repeatedly shook his head.
Both men had pleaded not guilty to all charges and said they were not present in the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad at the time of the crimes.
"The perpetration by Milan Lukic and Sredoje Lukic of crimes in this case is characterized by a callous and vicious disregard for human life," Judge Patrick Robinson said, reading the verdict.
"At the close of the 20th century, a century marked by war and bloodshed on a colossal scale, these horrific events stand out for the viciousness of the incendiary attack, for the obvious premeditation and calculation that defined it, for the sheer callousness and brutality."
Also on Monday around 1,200 Bosnians paid respects to 42 Muslims and two Croats whose remains were buried here 17 years after they were killed by Serb forces.
The victims' remains were buried in their respective villages after a solemn ceremony attended mainly by tearful women in the village of Rizvanovici, near the northwestern town of Prijedor, an AFP photographer said.
Forensic experts exhumed the remains from mass and individual graves scattered across the area. They later identified the victims through DNA analysis.
Serb forces captured around two-thirds of Bosnia's territory including Prijedor at the beginning of the 1992-1995 war, killing many and expelling the town's Muslim majority as part of an "ethnic cleansing" campaign.
Bosnia's inter-ethnic war claimed at least 120,200 lives, according to independent research.