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The Hague, 12 December 2007
Dragomir Milošević sentenced to 33 years' imprisonment for crimes committed in Sarajevo
The Tribunal today found Dragomir Milošević, a former Bosnian Serb Army general, guilty of a range of crimes committed against civilians during the final months of the 1992-1995 siege of Sarajevo. The Trial Chamber sentenced him to 33 years' imprisonment.
Milošević was found guilty of crimes against humanity and of a violation of the laws or customs of war. He was convicted on five counts of terror, murder and inhumane acts conducted during a campaign of sniping and shelling which resulted in the injury and death of a great number of civilians in the besieged Bosnian capital. Two counts of unlawful attacks against civilians were dismissed.
In the summary of its judgement, the Trial Chamber found that under the command of Dragomir Milošević, the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps (SRK) of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) encircled and entrapped the city of Sarajevo over a 15-month period up to the end of the conflict in November 1995. The Trial Chamber found that the SRK used several methods to affect its campaign, including snipers and mortars. It noted that many witnesses testified that “….there was no safe place in Sarajevo; one could be killed or injured anywhere and anytime.”
In its summary of its judgement, the Trial Chamber found that it was under Milošević's command of the SRK that modified air bombs were deployed, noting that these were “….inaccurate and served no military purpose.”
The use of mortars was found to have caused many deaths and injuries among the civilian population of Sarajevo. The Trial Chamber highlighted the Markele Market incident of 28 August 1995, which killed 34 civilians and wounded 78 civilians, as one of the most horrendous. The Trial Chamber found that the Markale Market was shelled by the SRK. It rejected the defence's argument that the shelling of the Markele Market was a staged event by the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ABiH).
As commander of the SRK, Milošević “…held a tight chain of command…” ensuring that he was “…kept abreast of the activities of his units.” The summary refers to one particular order issued by Milošević on 6 April 1995 in which he ordered the Ilidža Brigade to “…immediately prepare a launcher with an aerial bomb and transport the bomb for launching. [….] The most profitable target must be selected in Hrasnica or Sokolović Kolonija, where the greatest casualties and material damage would be inflicted.”
The Trial Chamber found that Milošević “….abused his position and that he, through his orders, planned and ordered gross and systematic violations of international humanitarian law. Moreover, the Accused made regular use of a highly inaccurate weapon with great explosive power: the modified air bomb.” The Trial Chamber considered the repeated use of this weapon to be an aggravating factor in reaching its judgement stating that by using modified air bombs, Milošević was playing with the lives of the civilians of Sarajevo.
Dragomir Milošević took over command of the SRK from Stanislav Galić in 1994. Galić stood trial at the ICTY for crimes committed during the siege of Sarajevo and was sentenced on appeal to life imprisonment in November 2006 for crimes against humanity and a violation of the laws or customs of war.
Dragomir Milošević surrendered on 3 December 2004. His trial began on 11 January 2007 with closing arguments taking place on 9 and 10 October 2007.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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