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CASE BLAGOJEVIC: NEW FAILURE OF INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE

May 10, 2007 2 comments
“I DID NOT KNOW, THEREFORE, I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE”

EDITORIAL by Srebrenica Genocide Blog
(Feel free to republish with references)

Short Intro: How to win genocide acquittal with cheap arguments available at your local coffee bar? It would be quite humorous if it weren’t so sad. Failures of international justice continue at a rapid rate. Consider recent judgment in a case of Serb Col. Vidoje Blagojevic, whose forces participated in a genocide of over 8,000 Bosniaks in Srebrenica during deadly moments of 7/11 1995…

Today, we have witnessed ‘continuity’ of failures produced by the United Nations and the International Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). It all started with the 1995 massacre in the “safe enclave” of Srebrenica, where over 8,000 Bosniaks were summarily executed by the Bosnian Serb Army in front of very noses of the UN peacekeepers. Not to mention catastrophic failures with respect to the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, where Chief UN War Crimes Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, made a deal with Belgrade to keep crucial evidence censored (as a result, this type of censorship of evidence may have saved Serbia from genocide resonsibility at the International Crimes Tribunal.)

Today, we have witnessed another catastrophy at the ICTY where Serb Col. Vidoje Blagojevic won acquittal on his earlier complicity in genocide conviction. Vidoje Blagojevic who, by the way, happens to facially resemble Adolf Hitler (see photo), seemed unmoved. Neverthless, in January 2005, the ICTY handed down the second Srebrenica Genocide judgment finding Col. Vidoje Blagojevic guilty of complicity in genocide committed after the fall of the UN protected enclave in July 1995; the U.N. sentenced him to 18 years of imprisonment. But today, the Tribunal’s appeals chamber had a change of heart and concluded that Col. Blagojevic, former commander of Bratunac Brigade of Republika Srpska Army, supposedly did not know about the mass murders taking place and “was only providing logistical support”. Our initial response to this judgment was: “Yeah, right. Another insult to human intelligence. How much insult can a reasonable human being really take?”

As concluded by the chamber, this means that Col. Blagojevic “did not share the intention to commit genocide,” stated chairman Judge Fausto Pocar (Italian). If we could go all the way back to 1991, it would be beneficial to let Judge Fausto Pocar spend years in the enclave under siege, and experience (the first hand) how it felt to be subjected to Col. Blagojevic’s terror; not to mention widespread starvation and lack of medical necessities. Maybe only then, Judge Fausto Pocar would have clearer picture of genocidal sufering that Col. Blagojevic’s forces subjected citizens of Srebrenica to.

Only a naive fool can believe that Col. Blagojevic did not know about Genocide when his forces were committing it. In fact, original judges agreed he was responsible for complicity in genocide; however, Judge Fausto Pocar disagreed. It would be interesting to know true leanings of Judge Fausto Pocar – is he objective (as any judge should be), or does he takes sides? Clearly, original judges saw the case in a different light. Sadly, victims of genocide and their traumatized families will never be able to reverse events of 7/11 1995. At that time, armed forces of Serb Gen. Ratko Mladic and the Bosnian Serb war-time leader Radovan Karadzic, rounded up over 8,000 Srebrenica Bosniaks (includings hundreds of children), summarily killed them, threw them in mass graves, later reburied them in different locations to hide the crime, and forcefully expelled thousands of other Bosniaks from their homes. There will be no appeal for victim’s lives; however, war criminals will continue to have “second chances” with respect to technicalities of appeals and endless liberal philosophies.

Another Judge, Mohamed Shahabuddeen (Guyana), dissented on several grounds with Judge Fausto Pocar’s errors in logic. Some of dissenting arguments were in favor of Col. Blagojevic’s appeal, and some against – most notably on the ground to reverse Col. Blagojevic’s original conviction for complicity in genocide.

By the same decision, the chamber has supported the earlier verdict against Dragan Jokic – former chief of engineers of Zvornik Brigade, Republika Srpska Army – sentencing him to nine years’ imprisonment.

While it is extremely hard to prove genocide (almost impossible), once convicted – it is much easier to manipulate the system and get an acquittal, as evidenced in the case of Blagojevic. It seems that Judges are receptive to cheap defence arguments that people “did not know” or “did not intend” to commit genocide. So, according to the indictment against the two, Col. Blagojevic’s troops were involved in separation of men and women and their taking away in buses after the Army of Republika Srpska had entered Srebrenica. Jokic organised the machinery and forces needed for the digging of mass graves of more than 8,000 people killed in Srebrenica.

It seem in this world of ‘insecurity’, ironically only weapons of mass destruction may provide some security and guarantee of survival for those in danger – as the UN has proved to be totaly incapable to save those who can’t save themselves. For example, we witness genocide in Darfur unfolding every day while the UN fails to do anything to protect those poor people from barbarianism initiated by the Sudanese Arab-controlled government. The UN even avoids calling events in Darfur genocide, classifying it as a “massacre.” No wonder Israel does not have much confidence in the United Nations. Those who tirelessly criticize Israel’s nuclear weapons can’t seemingly understand that this small state absolutely needs it to protect itself from total destruction. In a world where small nations can’t rely on the United Nations’ protection, it is obvious that the rule of force is the only rule that guarantees survival.

Based on the allegations in the indictment, the prosecution had requested a sentence of 15 to 20 years for Jokic and 32 years for Blagojevic. The appeals judges, led by Judge Fausto Pocar, upheld Blagojevic’s other convictions for aiding and abetting murder, persecutions on political and racial grounds and inhumane acts. They also upheld the murder, extermination and persecution on racial grounds convictions of Dragan Jokic, 49, a major in the Bosnian Serb army’s Zvornik brigade. Both men were acquitted of allegations of command responsibility. The court said the men had merely passed on orders, rather than given them. Basically, anybody can use this argument as a defence – even Gen Ratko Mladic (if he ever gets caught). He could simply claim that he was passing orders from Radovan Karadzic or even late Slobodan Milosevic, and wash his hands from any responsibility. Therefore, the Blagojevic’s verdict is a total insult to any reasonable person’s intelligence. It seems that – after all – crime pays, given the fact of ridicolous lengths of sentences that were handed down to most (if not all) ICTY convicts for mass killings, rapes, persecutions, crimes against humanity, even genocide.

Another interesting observation worth pointing out is that by Mike Corder, the Associated Press correspondent, who reported on Col. Blagojevic’s total lack of emotions as well as his courage to shout – not in front of judges, but behind their backs (as is the most notable trait of those considered cowards). At least, Slobodan Milosevic was “brave” enough to entertain International judges by shouting at them and making all kinds of funny faces. Here are some examples of Milosevic in front of international judges photo one and photo two. Unfortunately, Milosevic was struck with heart attack, and therefore failed to be convicted on 66 counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. Back to Col. Blagojevic, Mike Corder notes:

“The two men’s trial exposed the grim mechanics of genocide, Blagojevic’s troops helped separate the men and women and load them onto on buses after Bosnian Serb troops and paramilitaries overran the eastern Bosnian enclave. Jokic organized machinery and troops to dig mass graves for some of the more than 8,000 Muslim men massacred…. Blagojevic appeared unmoved as the decision was read, but as the judges walked out of the court room, he shouted: ‘This is outrageous. You are protecting the criminal behavior of (Michael) Karnavas in the court room.’ Karnavas was a court-appointed defense attorney with whom Blagojevic refused to cooperate” (UN Appeals Judges Reverse Bosnian Serb Army Officer’s Srebrenica Genocide Conviction)

The Appeals Chamber stated that “no reasonable trier of fact could find beyond reasonable doubt that, without knowledge of the mass killings, Mr. Blagojevic’s awareness of the other facts related to the forcible transfer operation shows that he had knowledge of the principal perpetrators’ genocidal intent”. With respect to the “principal perpetrator’s genocidal intent”, the Judge was clearly refering to the indicted architects of the massacre, Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his wartime military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic, both on the run, more than a decade after being indicted for genocide. There is a little or no hope they will ever be caught, as they are regarded as “holy” and “heroes” of mythical proportions among general Serb population.

So far, The ICTY has passed legally binding verdicts against six people indicted for Srebrenica genocide and crimes committed in Srebrenica since 1993, including the verdict for genocide against General Radislav Krstic, former commander of Drina Corps of the Bosnian Serb Army. The International Court of Justice also passed a verdict recognizing Srebrenica massacre as genocide in a case of Bosnia vs. Serbia. Additionally, trials against seven more Srebrenica indictees are ongoing, and three are still to start. Other trials are ongoing in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

FACES OF EVIL (15 minutes of shame)

July 21, 2006 5 comments

Srebrenica Massacre Memorial TWO SREBRENICA GENOCIDE CONVICTS ALREADY IN PRISON, EIGHTEEN MORE SUSPECTS CURRENTLY ON TRIAL; SERBIA PROVIDES SAFE REFUGE FOR FUGITIVES

Brief Update: Serb General, Radislav Krstic, who was originally awarded 46-year prison term for his involvement in Srebrenica genocide, is currently serving appealed sentence of 35-years in prison for aiding and abetting Srebrenica genocide. Serb Colonel Vidoje Blagojevic is currently serving his 18-year sentence for complicity in Srebrenica genocide. Seven other Srebrenica genocide suspects are on trial; an eight suspect remains on the run. Other Srebrenica genocide suspects on the run include Serb Gen. Ratko Mladic and former Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. Ratko Mladic hid in Belgrade until January this year. 11 persons accused of Srebrenica genocide are currently on trial in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Background: International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia. Slobodan Milosevic (center), Radovan Karadzic (left), and Ratko Mladic (right)THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Judges at the United Nations’ War Crimes Tribunal on Friday – July 14th – began the latest and largest trial of military officers blamed for the summary execution 11 years ago of over 8,100 Bosniaks in Srebrenica.

Charges of genocide make the case against the seven former Bosnian Serb officers one of the most important in the tribunal’s history, especially following the death of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic four months ago before his own genocide trial could be completed.

Tribunal chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte was to give an opening statement Friday before the court adjourns for its summer recess. The case is due to resume in late August.

The trial began in the week that the town in eastern Bosnia — which the U.N. had declared a safe haven — marked the anniversary of that July week in 1995 when Bosnian Serb forces massacred over 8,100 Bosniak men, elderly and children there.

Serb General, Radislav Krstic is currently serving 35-year prison sentence for Srebrenica genocide.It once again highlights the tribunal’s failure to capture and put on trial the two men viewed as chief architects of the slaughter — former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic, who have been on the run for more than a decade.

Earlier this week, 505 bodies exhumed from mass graves were reburied in Srebrenica after painstaking efforts to formally identify them. Thousands wait for DNA identification, while others are missing.

Del Ponte attended Tuesday’s commemoration in Srebrenica, partly to focus attention on efforts to have the two chief suspects arrested.

Vidoje Blagojevic is currently serving his 18-year sentence for complicity in Srebrenica genocide.“I’m here for the ceremony, for the victims, for the survivors and for the criminals Karadzic and Mladic who are still at large,” she told reporters.

The Hague-based court has staged only a handful of trials dealing with the Srebrenica atrocities, but made the landmark ruling that Bosnian Serb forces waged a campaign of genocide in the eastern Bosnian enclave.

Gen. Radislav Krstic, Mladic’s deputy, is serving a 35-year prison term for aiding and abetting genocide, and Col. Vidoje Blagojevic is appealing his 18-year sentence for complicity in genocide.

Radovan Karadzic, charged with genocide in relation to Srebrenica massacre. Currently on the run.The suspects in the case which begun July 14th are: Vujadin Popovic, Ljubisa Beara, Drago Nikolic, Ljubomir Borovcanin, Radivoje Miletic, Milan Gvero and Vinko Pandurevic. An eighth suspect, Zdravko Tolimir, remains on the run.

Each faces eight counts, ranging from genocide to murder and persecution. All have pleaded not guilty. They face maximum life sentences if convicted.

Although the defendants have entered their pleas, opening statements in the trial are not due until after the tribunal’s summer recess. The case was adjourned until opening statements on August 21.

Six men have so far been convicted over the Srebrenica massacre, and two of those on genocide charges.

Ratko Mladic, charged with genocide in relation to Srebrenica massacre. Currently on the run.“It is good that a few senior people are going to be held hopefully to account, because so few have been,” said Avril McDonald, an international law expert at the Hague-based TMC Asser Institute.

The allegations are hauntingly familiar from television images; Muslim men and boys separated from women and ferried away by bus to locations including schools, farms and river banks around the Srebrenica enclave.

There, they were gunned down and their bodies plowed into mass graves.

Vujadin Popovic, currently on Srebrenica massacre trial charged with Genocide.In one of several massacres listed in the indictment, Bosnian Serb special forces summarily executed more than 1,000 men who had been captured and imprisoned in an agricultural warehouse in the village of Kravica.

“The soldiers used automatic weapons, hand grenades, and other weaponry to kill the Bosnian Muslims inside the warehouse,” the indictment alleges. The victims’ bodies were dumped in two mass graves 11 years ago – on July 14 1995.

Serbia – Safe Heaven for War Criminals

War crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic hid in modest flats in the Serbian capital until January this year, according to an indictment against 10 people accused of helping him, the daily Politika reported on Wednesday.

Radivoje Miletic, currently on Srebrenica massacre trial charged with Genocide.
Quoting a source who saw the indictment, Politika said it lists the addresses of flats where the former Bosnian Serb Army commander hid from mid-2002 to January 2006.

Mladic is accused of genocide in the Bosnia war. Serbia must deliver him for trial to the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague in order to resume suspended talks on closer ties with the European Union.

“It is matter of five or more flats in (the neighbourhood of) New Belgrade, and the persons who helped Mladic paid the rent and supplied him with food,” the daily quoted its source as saying.

The flats Mladic used were “relatively modest”, with rents of up to 400 euros (274 pounds) per month, Politika said. New Belgrade is a densely populated area, built in the 1960s as a dormitory suburb of concrete high-rises.

Drago Nikolic, currently on Srebrenica massacre trial charged with Genocide.A flurry of reports earlier this year said Mladic had been tracked down and was negotiating surrender, but nothing came of them. The government said Mladic had virtually no helpers left and was now on the run, whereabouts unknown.

The European Union suspended pre-membership talks with Serbia in May because it had failed repeatedly to meet deadlines for the handover of Mladic, who is twice indicted along with his wartime political boss Radovan Karadzic, also at large.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica this week presented a plan to find and deliver Mladic, which EU officials said could get talks restarted if Belgrade’s efforts to implement it were convincing.

Ljubisa Beara, currently on Srebrenica massacre trial charged with Genocide.It includes a shake-up of the security services, passing of new legislation, and an operative part which is secret, officials said.

Mladic and Karadzic are wanted for the Srebrenica massacre of over 8,100 Bosniak men and children and the 43-month siege of Sarajevo. (see Sarajevo Photo Tour, Summer 2005). Sarajevo was under siege longer than any other city in modern history — longer even than Stalingrad.

The seven men and three women indicted for helping Mladic were arrested following a military intelligence report which listed some 50 people who allegedly helped hide the fugitive, who was last seen in army facilities in mid-2002.

Vinko Pandurevic, currently on Srebrenica massacre trial charged with Genocide.The indictment lists a former officer of the Bosnian Serb army who was arrested in January as the key man who organised Mladic’s hideouts in Belgrade.

Mladic has been on the run since 1995 when the United Nations war crimes court charged him with genocide for his part in the Srebrenica massacre.

Carla Del Ponte, the chief U.N. prosecutor, has repeatedly accused the Serbian authorities of knowing Mladic’s location, claiming they could have arrested him before he disappeared again.


11 on Trial in Bosnia (update)


Presiding Judge Hilmo Vucinic and the two foreign judges comprise the Judicial Council in Srebrenica massacre case in which 11 individuals stand accused of Genocide.

Milan Gvero, currently on Srebrenica massacre trial charged with Genocide.Tomislav Dukic, a prosecution witness in the case against 11 persons accused of killing around a thousand Bosniaks in Kravica in July 1995, testified that the principal defendant Milos Stupar was seen in the vicinity of the farmon 13 July 1995, the day of the massacre.

Witness Dukic is a former member of the Armored Platoon of the Second Squad of the Sekovici Special Police, which was deployed along the road near Kravica during the attack on Srebrenica in July 1995.

Several prosecution witnesses who testified earlier claimed that Stupar was a commander of the Second Squad of the Sekovici Special Police until mid-July 1995.

Zdravko Tolimir, charged with Genocide in relation to Srebrenica massacre. Currently on the run.The indictment, confirmed on 19 December 2005 before the Bosnia-Herzegovina Court, accuses Milos Stupar, Milenko Trifunovic, Petar Mitrovic, Brana Dzinic, Aleksandar Radovanovic, Slobodan Jakovljevic, Miladin Stevanovic, Velibor Maksimovic, Dragisa Zivanovic and Branislav Medan of “being members and deliberate perpetrators of a joint criminal enterprise aimed at forcefully evicting women and children from the Srebrenica enclave…and to capture, detain, execute by summary procedure, bury and re-bury thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys.”

They all pleaded not guilty.

VIDOJE BLAGOJEVIC and DRAGAN JOKIC – GUILTY

December 11, 2005 Comments off
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
———–
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