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VIDOJE BLAGOJEVIC and DRAGAN JOKIC – GUILTY

December 11, 2005
Vidoje Blagojevic and Dragan Jokic (IT-02-60)

Vidoje Blagojevic

Colonel in command of the 1st Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade

Born 22 June 1950 in Bratunac Municipality, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
———–
Arrest / Surrendered

10 August 2001, apprehended by SFOR
———–
Transferred to ICTY

10 August 2001
———–
Initial Appearance

16 August 2001, pleaded “not guilty” to all counts.
———–
Trial Chamber Sentencing Judgement

17 January 2005, sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment

Trial Chamber Judgement:
17 January 2005, found guilty by virtue of his superior individual responsibility, of complicity to commit genocide; murder as a crime against humanity and as a violation of the laws or customs of war; persecutions as a crime against humanity; inhumane acts (forcible transfer) and sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment.

Charged on the basis of individual criminal responsibility (Article 7(1)) and superior criminal responsibility (Article 7(3)) with:

– Genocide
– Crimes against humanity
– Violations of the laws or customs of war

Start of the trial: 14 May 2003

Defence Counsels in the Trial stage: Mr. Michael Karnavas, Ms. Susanna Tomanovic
Defence Counsel in the Appeal stage: Mr. Vladimir Domazet

Dragan Jokic

Chief of Engineering of the 1st Zvornik Brigade.
Born 20 August 1957 in Grbavci, Zvornik Municipality, Bosnia and Herzegovina
———–
Arrest / Surrendered

15 August 2001, voluntary surrender
———–
Transferred to ICTY

15 August 2001
———–
Initial Appearance

21 August 2001, pleaded “not guilty” to all counts.
———–
Provisionally released

28 May 2002 – 29 April 2003
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Trial Chamber Sentencing Judgement

17 January 2005, sentenced to 9 years’ imprisonment

Trial Chamber Judgement: 17 January 2005, found guilty, by virtue of his individual criminal responsibility, of extermination as a crime against humanity; murder as a violation of the laws or customs of war; persecutions as a crime against humanity and sentenced to 9 years’ imprisonment.

Charged on the basis of individual criminal responsibility (Article 7(1)) with:

– Crimes against humanity
– Violations of the laws or customs of war

Start of the trial: 14 May 2003

Defence Counsels: Mr. Miodrag Stojanovic, Mr. Branko Lukic

The three initial Indictments against Vidoje Blagojevic, Dragan Obrenovic and Dragan Jokic (IT-98-33/1, IT-01-43 and IT-01-44) were joined pursuant to an oral Decision of Trial Chamber II at the Status Conference of 15 January 2002. The Joinder Indictment (IT-02-53) and the Indictment against Momir Nikolic (IT-02-56) were joined pursuant to a written Order of Trial Chamber II dated 17 May 2002 as case number IT-02-60. On 9 May 2003, following his guilty plea, Momir Nikolic was assigned case number IT-02-60/1. On 23 May 2003, following his guilty plea, Dragan Obrenovic was assigned case number IT-02-60/2.

The Indictment (“Srebrenica”)
Factual allegations:
The Amended Joinder Indictment (hereinafter the Indictment), filed on 27 May 2002, alleges that Vidoje Blagojevic was appointed Commander of the 1st Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade (“Bratunac Brigade”) of the Bosnian Serb Army (“VRS”) in May 1995. It is alleged that his brigade was responsible for the security of the territory opposite the northern, eastern and southern boundaries of the Srebrenica “safe area” and directly participated in its capture.

The Indictment further states that during the VRS attack on the Srebrenica “safe area” and the subsequent killing and execution of Bosniak men, Vidoje Blagojevic, as the Colonel in charge of the Bratunac Brigade, was present in the Bratunac Brigade zone of responsibility exercising command through at least 17 July 1995. He is then alleged to have led a battalion of his troops as part of a VRS operation attacking the Bosniak enclave of @epa. After its fall, he allegedly returned to the Bratunac zone of responsibility where he remained until 22 September 1995. He remained the Bratunac Brigade Commander until mid-1996 when he was re-assigned to the VRS Main Staff, later named the VRS General Staff.

As a brigade commander, he was responsible for planning, directing and monitoring the activities of all the subordinate formations of his brigade, in accordance with the directives received from his higher command at the Corps and Main Staff levels.

The Indictment alleges that on 1 July 1995, Dragan Obrenovic was a Major and held the position of Chief of Staff of the Zvornik Brigade, a unit of the VRS. As Chief of Staff, he was allegedly responsible for directing the activities of the Brigade Staff. He was responsible for monitoring, controlling and organising the activities of all units and activities within the Brigade zone of responsibility, to give supplementing orders to ensure implementation of the Commander’s order and act as primary adviser to his Brigade Commander. As Chief of Staff, he was concurrently the Brigade Deputy Commander where, in the absence of his Commander, he was allegedly in charge of the Zvornik Brigade and had the right to give assignments to subordinates.

When the Srebrenica operation began on 6 July 1995, the Commander of the Zvornik Brigade, Vinko Pandurevic, was absent on other duties outside the Zvornik Brigade zone of responsibility and the Deputy Commander, Dragan Obrenovic, was in charge of the Zvornik Brigade on 6 July 1995 through to midday on 15 July 1995, when Vinko Pandurevic returned.

The Indictment alleges that Momir Nikolic, a teacher by profession, was mobilised into the army on 18 April 1992, when he was stationed at the Headquarters of the Territorial Defence as the Assistant Commander for Intelligence. In July 1995, he was assigned to the VRS Bratunac Brigade where he held the rank of Captain First Class and served as the Assistant Commander for Security and Intelligence.

It is alleged that, in his capacity as Assistant Commander for Security and Intelligence, Momir Nikolic was present in the Bratunac Brigade zone of responsibility from 4 July 1995 to 1 November 1995.

The Indictment alleges that Dragan Jokic held the rank of Major with the position of Chief of Engineering of the Zvornik Brigade. As Chief of Engineering, he was a member of the Zvornik Brigade staff and the advisor to the Zvornik Brigade Commander and to the Chief of Staff/Deputy Commander for matters relating to Engineering Services, such as defence works, mining activities, road construction and excavation projects. He was also allegedly responsible for planning, directing, organising and monitoring the activities of the Zvornik Brigade Engineering Company which implemented the directives of the Brigade Commander and/or the Chief of Staff/Deputy Commander. In addition, he is alleged to have been the Duty Officer of the Zvornik Brigade for a 24-hour period from the morning of 14 July 1995 until the morning of 15 July 1995. The Duty Officer was the central point of co-ordination and communications for the Zvornik Brigade zone of responsibility.

Charges:
The Indictment contains six counts charging the co-Accused as follows:

Vidoje Blagojevic on the basis of his individual criminal responsibility (Article 7(1) of the Statute) and his superior criminal responsibility (Article 7(3) of the Statute) with:

One count of complicity to commit genocide (Article 4(3)(e) of the Statute),
Four counts of crimes against humanity (Article 5 of the Statute – extermination; murder; persecution on political, racial and religious grounds; inhumane acts (forcible transfer)) and
One count of violations of the laws or customs of war (Article 3 of the Statute – murder)

Dragan Jokic on the basis of his individual criminal responsibility (Article 7(1) of the Statute) with:

Three counts of crimes against humanity (Article 5 of the Statute – extermination; murder; persecution on political, racial and religious grounds), and
One count of violations of the laws or customs of war (Article 3 of the Statute – murder)

Provisional Release
On 28 March 2002, Trial Chamber II rejected Dragan Jokic’s Request for Provisional Release which he had filed on 10 January 2002. On 18 April 2002, a Bench of the Appeals Chamber granted Dragan Jokic Leave to Appeal the Decision. On 28 May 2002, the Appeals Chamber granted the appeal and ordered that Dragan Jokic be provisionally released. On 11 April 2003, the Trial Chamber terminated Dragan Jokic’s provisional release and ordered that the Accused surrender to the custody of the Tribunal on 29 April 2003 for the commencement of trial proceedings.

Guilty pleas
On 6 May 2003, the Prosecution and the Defence for Momir Nikolic appeared before the Trial Chamber for a hearing on the “Joint Motion for Consideration of Plea Agreements between Momir Nikolic and the Office of the Prosecutor”. The Trial Chamber asked the parties to amend the Plea Agreement and on 7 May 2003, Momir Nikolic pleaded guilty to count five of the Indictment, persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds, a crime against humanity, according to the amended Plea Agreement (see Press Release No.751).

On 9 May 2003, the Trial Chamber separated the proceedings against Momir Nikolic (see case IT-02-60/1).

On 21 May 2003, the Prosecution and the Defence for Dragan Obrenovic appeared before the Trial Chamber for a hearing on the “Joint Motion for Consideration of Plea Agreement between Dragan Obrenovic and the Office of the Prosecutor”. Dragan Obrenovic pleaded guilty to count five of the Indictment, persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds, a crime against humanity (see Press Release No. 756).

On 23 May 2003, the Trial Chamber separated the proceedings against Dragan Obrenovic (see case IT-02-60/2).

Trial

The Trial commenced on 14 May 2003. The Prosecution presented its case from 14 May 2003 to 27 February 2004. The Defence for Vidoje Blagojevic presented its case from 14 April until 25 June 2004 and the Defence for Dragan Jokic presented its case from 1 until 23 July 2004.
The parties presented their closing arguments from 29 September until 1 October 2004.

Judgement

Vidoje Blagojevic was found not guilty under Article 7(3) of the Statute but guilty pursuant to Article 7(1) of the Statute, through aiding and abetting, of complicity to commit genocide; murder as a crime against humanity and as a violation of the laws or customs of war; persecutions as a crime against humanity; inhumane acts (forcible transfer). He was not found guilty of extermination. Vidoje Blagojevic was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment.
Dragan Jokic was found guilty, under Article 7(1) of the Statute, of extermination as a crime against humanity; murder as a violation of the laws or customs of war; persecutions as a crime against humanity. He was found not guilty of murder as a crime against humanity. Dragan Jokic was sentenced to 9 years’ imprisonment.

Trial Chamber I Section A:
Judge Liu Daqun (Presiding), China
Judge Volodymyr Vassylenko, Ukraine
Judge Carmen Maria Argibay, Argentina

Counsel for the Prosecution:
Mr. Peter McCloskey
Ms. Antoinette Issa
Mr. Stefan Waespi

Counsel for the Defence:
For Vidoje Blagojevic:
Mr. Michael Karnavas
Ms. Suzana Tomanovic,
For Dragan Jokic:
Mr. Miodrag Stojanovic,
Mr. Branko Lukic


keywords: Vidoje Blagojevic, Dragan Jokic, Momir Nikolic, Srebrenica Genocide, Srebrenica Massacre, Bosniaks, Bosnian Muslims, Bosnia-Herzegovina

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