Justice Louise Arbour welcomes the Detention by SFOR of Radomir Kovac.
Today, Monday 2 August 1999, Justice Louise Arbour, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), welcomed the detention of Radomir Kovac by SFOR. Radomir Kovac, a sub-commander of the military police and paramilitary leader in Foca, is one of the individuals accused in the ‘Gagovic and others’ indictment confirmed on 26 June 1996, with regard to crimes allegedly committed by Bosnian Serb soldiers, policemen and members of paramilitary groups in Foca (south-eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina) in 1992 and 1993.
Justice Arbour today issued the following statement:
"I welcome this most recent SFOR action to support the Tribunal in the full discharge of its mandate. I commend the professionalism and commitment of all those involved in securing the detention of the accused.
With three apprehensions having been effected over the past seven weeks, SFOR has sent a clear signal to all remaining indictees that the failure of the relevant local authorities to arrest them and to transfer them to The Hague will not disrupt the course of justice.
I therefore invite all publicly indicted accused to surrender themselves to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, failing which I am confident that similar SFOR operations will be carried out.
I also repeat my pressing call to the authorities of the Republika Srpska to intervene and encourage the publicly indicted accused to surrender to SFOR."
According to the indictment, the municipality of Foca was taken over by the Bosnian Serb Army, assisted by paramilitary units, including some from Serbia and Montenegro, between April and July 1992. The soldiers separated men and women.
The former were mostly detained in the Foca Kazneno-Popravni Dom (KP Dom Foca), one of the largest prison facilities in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Muslim women, children and elderly persons were detained in houses, apartments and motels in the town of Foca or surrounding villages, and in short and long-term detention centres, such as Buk Bijela, Foca High School and Partizan Sports Hall. Additionally, several women were held in houses and apartments, which were used as brothels by groups of mainly paramilitary soldiers
Many of the detained women, some as young as 12 years of age, "were subjected to humiliating and degrading conditions of life, to brutal beatings and sexual assaults, including rapes."
The ‘Gagovic and others’ indictment charges Dragan Gagovic (deceased), Gojko Jankovic, Janko Janjic, Radomir Kovac, Zoran Vukovic, Dragan Zelenovic, Dragoljub Kunarac and Radovan Stankovic with crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and violations of the laws or customs of war.
Radomir Kovac is charged on the basis of individual criminal responsibility with two counts of crimes against humanity, namely, enslavement (Article 5(c)) and rape (Article 5(g)).
Dragoljub Kunarac has been in custody at the Tribunal’s detention facility since he surrendered himself to SFOR forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 4 March 1998.
A date for Radomir Kovac’s initial appearance will be set in the coming days.