Former Bosnian military commander Naser Oric has been acquitted by a local court of war crimes during the 1992-95 Balkan conflict.
"Naser Oric and [his fellow fighter] Sabahudin Muhic are acquitted of charges of having committed during the war […] crimes against prisoners," judge Tihomir Lukes was quoted by AFP as saying.
Oric was charged with killing three Serb prisoners of war in villages around Srebrenica in the early days of the Bosnian War conflict. However, a panel of judges finally ruled that prosecutors had failed to present evidence proving the accusations against the 51-year-old.
The acquittal is the second such event during the trial against Oric which opened in January 2016. Oric was also acquitted by a UN war crimes tribunal in a separate case, in 2008.
Many Muslim Bosnians praise Olic as the "defender of Srebrenica" where about 8,000 Muslims men and boys were killed after the town was occupied by units of the army of Republika Srpska under the command of General Ratko Mladic.
In November 2017, Mladic, the former leader of Bosnian Serbs, was sentenced to life in prison after a UN war crimes tribunal found him guilty of involvement in the Srebrenica massacre and committing crimes against humanity.
In July 2015, Russia vetoed a draft resolution in the UN Security Council submitted by the UK that would condemn the 1995 Srebrenica events as a crime of genocide.
Media reports said that judges of the Hague-based UN tribunal, which was established following the 1990s conflict in former Yugoslavia, mainly convicted Serbs in high-profile cases related to the Bosnian War. A total of 52 Serbs were convicted, as compared to 17 Croats and six Bosnian Muslims.