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Dragan Zelenović pleads guilty


(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)

The Hague, 17 January 2007

Dragan Zelenović pleads guilty

Dragan Zelenović, a former Bosnian Serb soldier and de facto military policeman in the town of Foèa, today pleaded guilty to seven counts of torture and rape committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack on Bosnian Muslims in the eastern Bosnian municipality.

According to the redacted indictment and the plea agreement filed yesterday, Dragan Zelenović was involved in the attack on Foèa and its surrounding villages and in the arrest of civilians. On 3 July 1992 a group of at least 60 Bosnian Muslim women, children and a few elderly men from the villages of Trošanj and Mješaji was arrested by a group of Bosnian Serb soldiers including Dragan Zelenović and taken to Buk Bijela, a settlement which was used as a temporary detention and interrogation facility. Dragan Zelenović admitted to raping and torturing witness FWS-87, a 15-year-old girl, while she was being held in Buk Bijela. Zelenović also aided and abetted in the rape and torture of another victim.

Between 3 July and about 13 July 1992, at least 72 Bosnian Muslim inhabitants of the municipality of Foèa were detained in two classrooms in the Foèa High School, including the detainees who had earlier been held at Buk Bijela. Dragan Zelenović admitted to being among the group of soldiers who raped, participated in the gang-rape of and tortured a number of Bosnian Muslim women and girls held there. Women who resisted sexual assaults were threatened with death or were beaten.

On or about 13 July 1992 until at least 13 August 1992 at least 72 detainees were held at the Partizan Sports Hall in Foèa. The detention was characterised by inhumane treatment, unhygienic facilities, overcrowding, starvation, and physical and psychological torture, including sexual assaults. During her detention witness FWS-87 was frequently taken out and raped, and on one occasion she was gang-raped by 4 men including Dragan Zelenović.

On or about 30 October 1992, Dragan Zelenović and two other perpetrators raped four female detainees from the premises known as Karaman's house, a home located just outside Foèa where detainees were held living in constant fear for their lives.

At the hearing, the Trial Chamber stated it was satisfied that the plea agreement met the requirements of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. Accordingly, the Trial Chamber found the accused guilty on the seven counts of crimes against humanity contained in the plea agreement and granted the Prosecution's motion to withdraw the remaining seven counts of torture and rape, charged as violations of laws and customs of war.

As part of the plea agreement, Dragan Zelenović agreed to provide truthful and complete information and to testify at any proceedings before the ICTY as requested by the Office of the Prosecutor.

Dragan Zelenović's defence recommended a sentence in the range of 7 to 10 years and the Prosecution recommended a sentence in the range of 10 to 15 years' imprisonment.

The Trial Chamber asked both parties to submit their written sentencing briefs by 14 February 2007.

The Office of the Prosecutor has earlier submitted a request to refer the case of Dragan Zelenović to Bosnia and Herzegovina for trial. Since the accused pleaded guilty while that request was pending before the Referral Bench, his sentencing will now take place before the ICTY.


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