SARAJEVO, December 13 - RAPSI. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has convicted a former senior commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, Zdravko Tolimir, of genocide and sentenced him to life imprisonment for his involvement in the killing of thousands of prisoners near the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in July 1995.

Tolimir was the highest ranking officer after leader of the Bosnian Serbs Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic, accused of war crimes in Bosnian and Herzegovina.

During the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tolimir was Mladic's right-hand man and was in charge of reconnaissance and security.

The ICTY found Tolimir, 64, guilty because, as the army's head of intelligence, he was aware of the plans to commit mass murder of Bosnian Muslim prisoners and played a pivotal role in the crime. He willfully participated in the destruction of the Muslim communities under United Nations protection in the towns of Srebrenica and Zepa.

Experts believe that during the operation by the Bosnian Serb Army headed by Mladic, over 8,000 Muslims were killed in Srebrenica in July 1995. The city's was besieged and shooting of the city's male population ensued; this was one of the bloodiest episodes of the Bosnian War. The ICTY and the International Court of Justice has classified the acts of violence as genocide.