Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 340

1 Tuesday, 30 March 2004

2 [Sentencing]

3 [Open session]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 12.03 p.m.

6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good afternoon, everybody. May I ask

7 Madam Registrar to please call the case.

8 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. Good afternoon, Your Honours.

9 This is the case number IT-02-61-S, the Prosecutor versus

10 Miroslav Deronjic.

11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And may I have the appearances,

12 please. First the Prosecution.

13 MR. HARMON: Good afternoon, Mr. President and Your Honours,

14 counsel. My name is Mark Harmon. Appearing with me is

15 Ms. Lise-Lotte Karlsson, the case manager. Thank you.

16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And for the Defence, please.

17 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I am

18 Slobodan Cvijetic, counsel for the accused Deronjic, and next to me

19 Slobodan Zecevic, my co-counsel for Mr. Deronjic.

20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And may I finally ask Mr. Deronjic,

21 can you follow the proceedings in a language you understand?

22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honours, but I'm

23 not getting the translation.

24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Can you hear me now in a language you

25 understand?

Page 341

1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I hear you now, Your Honour.


3 Before announcing the highly disputed sentencing judgement in this

4 case, I should like to thank everybody having assisted in the preparation,

5 translation, and editing of this judgement. In particular, I wish to

6 express my gratitude to Mrs. Roza Salibekova, Ms. Anja Streufert,

7 Mr. Jan Nemitz.

8 The following is a summary of the Trial Chamber's judgement which

9 will be made available in French, English, and B/C/S at the end of the

10 session. However, the only authoritative account of this Trial Chamber's

11 findings and of its reasons for those findings is to be found in the

12 written judgement.

13 The accused, Mr. Miroslav Deronjic, was born the 6th of June,

14 1954, in the municipality of Bratunac.

15 Miroslav Deronjic was indicted the 3rd of July, 2002. The

16 Trial Chamber wishes to emphasise that it is seized only of

17 Miroslav Deronjic's criminal responsibility for persecutions committed on

18 the 9th of May, 1992, in the village of Glogova.

19 It is for this Trial Chamber to balance the extreme gravity of the

20 crimes against his contribution to coming closer to the truth by, inter

21 alia, accepting his individual responsibility for the crimes committed

22 this single day.

23 The 6th of July, 2002, Miroslav Deronjic was arrested in Bratunac

24 and transferred to the United Nations Detention Unit on the 8th of July,

25 2002. At his initial appearance on the 10th of July, 2002,

Page 342

1 Miroslav Deronjic pleaded not guilty to all the six counts of the initial

2 indictment that has been amended twice. The latest version of September

3 2003, reduced to only one charge of persecutions pursuant to Article 5(H)

4 of the Statute, forms the basis of these proceedings.

5 The accused pleaded guilty to this Indictment. It forms part of a

6 Plea Agreement submitted jointly by the parties together with a separate

7 Factual Basis.

8 The Trial Chamber ordered, proprio motu, an expert report on the

9 accused's social background which was submitted by Mrs. Ana Najman from

10 Belgrade. The Trial Chamber admitted further into evidence an expert

11 report on sentencing law compiled by Professor Dr. Ulrich Sieber, director

12 of the Max Planck Institute for foreign and international criminal law in

13 Freiburg, Germany, in the Dragan Nikolic case.

14 A sentencing hearing was held on the 27th, 28th January and 5th of

15 March 2004. The accused testified as a witness on 27 January.

16 The Trial Chamber will first turn to the professional career of

17 Miroslav Deronjic and then to the facts of the case.

18 From September 1990 to the end of April 1992, Miroslav Deronjic

19 was President of the Bratunac Municipal Board of the Serbian Democratic

20 Party, SDS, of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was president of three Crisis

21 Staffs in the municipality of Bratunac from October 1991 through June

22 1992. The Bratunac Crisis Staff was established by the end of April 1992

23 when it took over authority from the Executive Committee of the

24 municipality and the organs of the municipal assembly. It was transformed

25 to a war commission established by the Presidency of the Serb Republic of

Page 343

1 Bosnia and Herzegovina in June 1992, Miroslav Deronjic being a member of

2 it. In summer 1993, he became a member of the Main Board of the SDS. On

3 the 11th of July, 1995, Miroslav Deronjic was appointed a civilian

4 commissioner for Srebrenica municipality. In 1996, he became

5 vice-president of the SDS under President Karadzic until

6 Miroslav Deronjic's resignation in 1997.

7 The municipality of Bratunac, located in the eastern part of the

8 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was of major strategic significance to

9 the Bosnian Serbs linking this area to a contiguous Serbian state.

10 According to the 1991 census, the municipality of Bratunac

11 consisted of 33.619 inhabitants. Nearly two-thirds were Bosnian Muslims.

12 Nearly one-third were Bosnian Serbs.

13 The village of Glogova, located in this municipality, was

14 predominantly inhabited by Bosnian Muslims prior to the 9th of May, 1992.

15 Its population in 1991 consisted of 1.913 residents, of whom 1.901 were

16 Muslims.

17 From April to December 1991 a number of preparatory meetings were

18 held by the Bosnian Serb leadership, creating the idea of Greater Serbia,

19 cleansed from all other ethnicities. The development culminated in a

20 meeting held on the 19th of December, 1991, presided over by

21 Radovan Karadzic. He declared that a state would be formed, a Serb

22 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The presidents of the Municipal

23 Boards, including Miroslav Deronjic, were given strictly confidential

24 written instructions. They were directed to municipalities where Bosnian

25 Serbs constituted either a majority of the population, Variant A, or

Page 344

1 minority of the population, Variant B. The municipality of Bratunac was a

2 Variant B municipality.

3 In spring of 1992, an armed conflict between Serbs and non-Serbs

4 broke out in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Military forces

5 carried out widespread and systematic attacks against the Bosnian Muslim

6 population of this region.

7 In April/May 1992, the accused was aware that for the

8 aforementioned common purpose, the use of force had also been planned and

9 had already been implemented in neighbouring municipalities. The accused

10 acted accordingly in Glogova.

11 The use of force included, inter alia, forcible removal of the

12 Muslim population from their homes and the use of arms against Bosnian

13 Muslims, many of whom were killed during these events.

14 The municipality of Bratunac was taken over by Bosnian Serb forces

15 on 17 April 1992. Between the end of April and early May 1992,

16 Miroslav Deronjic, exercising de facto and de jure control as president of

17 the Bratunac Crisis Staff over the TO, and de facto control over the

18 Bratunac police forces, authorised the TO and the Bratunac police forces

19 to disarm the Bosnian Muslim population in the village of Glogova. From

20 that point, Glogova was not only a disarmed, but also an undefended

21 village.

22 On or about the 27th of April, 1992, Milutin Milosevic, chief of

23 the Serb SUP, speaking on behalf of Miroslav Deronjic, told the villagers

24 that Glogova would not be attacked because they had turned over their

25 weapons.

Page 345

1 At a Crisis Staff meeting at the 8th of May, 1992,

2 Miroslav Deronjic announced that the operation against Glogova would be

3 carried out the following day. He explained the strategic significance of

4 taking Glogova. The plan to create Serbian ethnic territory could not be

5 implemented in the municipality of Bratunac without first taking Glogova

6 and displacing its entire Muslim population to non-Serb territory. He

7 emphasised that if there was no resistance from the Muslim residents of

8 Glogova, they should all be brought to the centre of the village and

9 transported by bus and truck to Kladanj outside the municipality of

10 Bratunac. Miroslav Deronjic also stated that if everything went well in

11 Glogova, the operation to permanently remove Bosnian Muslims would

12 continue the following days in the town of Bratunac and, inter alia, the

13 communities of Voljevica and Suha.

14 At this session of the Crisis Staff, Miroslav Deronjic, in his

15 capacity as its president, gave the order to attack the undefended and

16 disarmed village of Glogova, burn it down, and forcibly displace its

17 Bosnian Muslim residents, taking into account and accepting the

18 substantial likelihood that some of them be killed during the attack.

19 The names of 64 unarmed Bosnian Muslim residents from Glogova

20 executed by members of the attacking forces on the 9th of May, 1992, are

21 known to the Trial Chamber. These names are listed in Section XII of the

22 judgement.

23 The attack on Glogova was a joint operation coordinated and

24 monitored by Miroslav Deronjic. The attacking forces were members of the

25 JNA, the Bratunac TO, the Bratunac police, and other paramilitary forces.

Page 346

1 The attacking forces removed the Bosnian Muslim civilians from

2 their homes by force and displaced them from the village of Glogova.

3 Specifically, women and children who survived the attack were placed on

4 buses and expelled to Muslim-held territory outside the municipality of

5 Bratunac. Neither the Indictment nor the Factual Basis specifies in

6 detail what happened to the victims during the attack and on and after

7 their transport.

8 The accused pleaded guilty to the fact that during the attack on

9 Glogova, he was present while the attacking forces systematically set fire

10 to the Bosnian Muslim houses, buildings, fields, and haystacks, causing

11 the wanton and extensive destruction of Bosnian Muslim dwellings,

12 businesses, and personal property in the village of Glogova. He accepted

13 the foreseeable consequence that the mosque was also destroyed.

14 As a result of the attack ordered by Miroslav Deronjic, a

15 substantial part of Glogova was razed to the ground and no Muslims were

16 left in the village.

17 The Trial Chamber wishes to emphasise that it is not seized of the

18 continuation of the operation throughout the entire municipality of

19 Bratunac, implementing the same plan. On the 10th of May, 1992, the

20 operation continued in the town of Bratunac and inter alia the communities

21 of Voljevica and Suha. Between the 8th and the 12th of May, 1992,

22 according to the accused, in total 100 to 200 people were killed in the

23 municipality of Bratunac.

24 On the 10th or the 11th of May, 1992, Miroslav Deronjic was

25 invited to Pale to report about the events in Glogova and/or in the

Page 347












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and

13 English transcripts.













Page 348

1 municipality of Bratunac. Present at the meeting in Pale were

2 Radovan Karadzic, Velibor Ostojic, and Ratko Mladic, as well as some 50

3 other participants, including the presidents of the Crisis Staffs from

4 other municipalities. On the wall behind them were maps that identified

5 the ethnic composition of areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina in various

6 colours. Serb areas were designated in blue. After having given his

7 report and having shown his municipality on the map, Miroslav Deronjic was

8 applauded, and Velibor Ostojic commented: "Now, we can colour Bratunac

9 blue."

10 The Trial Chamber will now discuss the gravity of the crime and

11 aggravating circumstances.

12 The Trial Chamber agrees with the Prosecution that "the crime for

13 which Miroslav Deronjic is to be sentenced is precisely the type of crime

14 about which the Security Council expressed its grave alarm in Resolution

15 808. The events in Glogova on the 9th of May, 1992, are a classical case

16 of ethnic cleansing, and precisely the reason why the Security Council

17 established this Tribunal. The attack on Glogova was not an isolated or

18 random event but a critical element in a larger scheme to divide Bosnia

19 and Herzegovina and create Serb-ethnic territories." The Trial Chamber

20 also concurs with the Prosecution that the crime of persecutions to which

21 the accused has pleaded guilty is "inherently very serious."

22 The Trial Chamber takes the following factors into account when

23 evaluating the gravity of the time and aggravating circumstances for

24 determining the sentence:

25 The large number of victims;

Page 349

1 Miroslav Deronjic's abuse of his superior position as a political

2 leader in the municipality of Bratunac;

3 His authorisation of the disarmament of the citizens of Glogova;

4 His role in ordering, and his actions during the attack on Glogova

5 based, as regards the ethnic cleansing, on a direct intent;

6 The special vulnerability and helplessness of the ambushed victims

7 of the attack.

8 The Trial Chamber in particular takes into account the long-term

9 effects of the attack on the victims of Glogova and their relatives. Many

10 of the former residents of Glogova suffer to this day from the lasting

11 effects of the horrors of the attack on their village and state, as far as

12 it has been disclosed by the Prosecutor to the Trial Chamber, inter alia:

13 "It's getting from bad to worse every day."

14 Another one: "Sometimes it is so difficult that you wish that you

15 had not survived."

16 Another victim: "I wish that I could go to sleep at night. I

17 have pain all over my body, and I have to keep the windows open as I feel

18 that I would suffocate otherwise. When I do go to sleep, I wake up often

19 because of nightmares about the Chetniks who are chasing us. Only a few

20 nights ago I woke up screaming after seeing such a nightmare and could not

21 explain to my children what I had seen."

22 Another victim: "I have flashbacks during some nights, and I do

23 not have sound sleep. I wake up and think that the war is still on and

24 run for shelter. Sometimes I run out of the house. That is the reason

25 that I sleep only on the ground floor."

Page 350

1 Another victim: "My youngest son who is about 23 years old is

2 also suffering and has health problems. I had managed to hide him in my

3 clothes in the day Glogova was attacked while the men were being killed.

4 He has been very badly affected by this. He cannot go to sleep, and his

5 legs go numb. I'm afraid that he might lose his mind. He often has

6 nightmares, and after he wakes up from them he runs to the window to get

7 some fresh air. He sometimes cannot dare to go back and try to sleep on

8 his own."

9 Another witness, finally: "I have myself gone to Glogova for

10 about ten times, and each time when I come back from that place I feel

11 that I am dead."

12 "I cannot help remembering that my daughter, who was just 13, was

13 taken away by soldiers."

14 In conclusion, taking into consideration only the gravity of the

15 crime and all the accepted aggravating circumstances, the Trial Chamber

16 unanimously finds that only an extremely serious punishment could be

17 imposed. There are, however, mitigating circumstances to which the

18 Trial Chamber will now turn.

19 The Prosecution correctly submits that "mitigating circumstances

20 relate to the assessment of a penalty but do not derogate the gravity of

21 the crime."

22 The Trial Chamber focuses mainly on:

23 The guilty plea of the accused and;

24 The substantial cooperation by the accused

25 But gives consideration to all mitigating factors presented by the

Page 351

1 parties, that is remorse, the accused's character and behaviour, and

2 finally, his contribution to prevent all attempts to revise history.

3 The Trial Chamber recognises the importance of Miroslav Deronjic's

4 guilty plea as his acceptance of individual criminal responsibility.

5 The Trial Chamber in this respect accepts the submission by the

6 Defence on the importance of the admission of guilt and that "the most

7 important is to prove that a crime was committed, and therefore to unmask

8 the policy on any of the three sides which led to this crime. In this

9 sense, a sentence is a relative category because ... There is no sentence

10 that can give the victims full satisfaction for their losses."

11 The Trial Chamber concludes that Miroslav Deronjic's guilty plea

12 and his readiness to testify in other trials assists the Tribunal in its

13 search for the truth. It also shelters the victims and witnesses from

14 testifying about painful and traumatic events, thereby reopening old

15 wounds.

16 The Trial Chamber accepts the submission by the Prosecution that

17 the accused's substantial cooperation resulted in providing unique and

18 corroborative information to the Prosecution, giving testimony in other

19 proceedings before the Tribunal, providing original documentation and

20 identifying new crimes and perpetrators unknown to the Prosecution.

21 The Trial Chamber takes into consideration the fact that the

22 accused has testified in other proceedings before this Tribunal, namely as

23 a court witness in the Momir Nikolic sentencing hearing, the Krstic

24 appeal, and the Blagojevic et al. trial, and as a Prosecution witness in

25 the Milosevic and Krajisnik trials. It is not for this Trial Chamber to

Page 352

1 assess the evidence in other proceedings before this Tribunal. However,

2 the Trial Chamber has to recall that the accused himself acknowledged that

3 he had given partly untruthful statements in his prior interviews with the

4 Prosecution.

5 Considering all the above-mentioned mitigating circumstances and

6 giving particular importance to the guilty plea and the substantial

7 cooperation, the Trial Chamber is satisfied that a substantial reduction

8 of the sentence is warranted.

9 As part of the Plea Agreement, the Prosecution recommended a term

10 of imprisonment of ten years. The Defence made a recommendation that a

11 sentence of not more than six years of imprisonment is an appropriate

12 sentence for the accused.

13 May I ask you, Mr. Deronjic, please stand up.

14 For the foregoing reasons, having considered all of the evidence

15 and the arguments of the parties, the Trial Chamber, having heard your

16 guilty plea, Mr. Miroslav Deronjic, and having entered a finding of guilt

17 for the crimes contained in the charge of persecutions in the Second

18 Amended Indictment, hereby enters a single conviction against you,

19 Mr. Miroslav Deronjic, for persecutions, a crime against humanity,

20 incorporating the attack on the village of Glogova, the killing of Bosnian

21 Muslim civilians in Glogova, the forcible displacement of Bosnian Muslim

22 civilians of Glogova from the municipality of Bratunac, the destruction of

23 an institution dedicated to religion (the mosque in Glogova), and the

24 destruction of Muslim civilian property in Glogova.

25 We sentence you, Mr. Miroslav Deronjic, by majority,

Page 353

1 Judge Schomburg dissenting, to ten years of imprisonment and state that

2 pursuant to Rule 101(C) of the Rules, you are entitled to credit for the

3 period during which you are detained in custody, calculated from the date

4 of your deprivation of liberty, that is the 6th of July, 2002, including

5 any additional time you may serve pending the determination of an appeal,

6 if any.

7 Pursuant to Rule 103(C) of the Rules, you shall remain in the

8 custody of the Tribunal pending the finalisation of arrangements for your

9 transfer to the State where your sentence will be served.

10 You may be seated.

11 Let me briefly summarise my dissenting opinion.

12 I have authenticated this judgement as Presiding Judge. I regret

13 that as a member of the Bench, for fundamental reasons, I am not able to

14 support the sentence.

15 The sentence is not proportional to the crimes it is based on and,

16 using a well known English idiom, the sentence imposed amounts to singing

17 from the wrong hymn sheet. The accused deserves a sentence of no less

18 than 20 years of imprisonment.

19 There are two main reasons leading me to the conclusion that the

20 imposed sentence recommended by the Prosecutor is not within mandate and

21 spirit of this Tribunal.

22 First, already the series of indictments, including the second

23 indictment, arbitrarily presents facts selected from the context of a

24 larger criminal plan and, for unknown reasons, limited to one day and to

25 the village of Glogova only.

Page 354

1 Second, even based on these fragments of facts, the heinous and

2 long-planned crimes committed by a high-ranking perpetrator do not allow

3 for a sentence of only ten years which may possibly be even a de facto

4 deprivation of liberty of only six years and eight months, taking into

5 account the possibility of an early release.

6 As no victim or relative of a victim has been given an opportunity

7 to address this Trial Chamber in person, I should like to give the last

8 word to one of them who has stated:

9 "I saw Miroslav Deronjic plead guilty on the television. The

10 Bosnian Muslims in the community that I have spoken to felt relieved

11 because he admitted his guilt. This is a positive thing and can heal the

12 wounds of the community provided that he is punished adequately. A mild

13 punishment, however, would not serve any purpose; he does not deserve any

14 compassion as he did not show any, not only to the people of Glogova, but

15 also to the other Muslim Bosnians of Bratunac and Srebrenica."

16 May I ask the usher, please, to distribute copies of the judgement

17 to the parties.

18 This concludes the proceedings in this case before Trial Chamber

19 II.

20 --- Whereupon the Sentencing adjourned at

21 12.40 p.m.