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Radovan Stankovic Transferred to Bosnia and Herzegovina

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

The Hague, 29 September 2005

Radovan Stankovic Transferred to Bosnia and Herzegovina

First ICTY indictee to be transferred to a state in the former Yugoslavia for trial (info sheet)

Radovan Stankovic was today transferred from the ICTY to Sarajevo to be tried by the War Crimes Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Tribunal views this as a landmark event, being the first transfer of an ICTY accused to be tried in a national jurisdiction. As part of the Tribunal's completion strategy, endorsed by the UN Security Council, the Prosecutor has requested a small number of cases involving mid and lower-level accused to be referred to national courts pursuant to Rule 11bis of the Tribunal's Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

As the ICTY concentrates on trying the most senior perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, it will continue to fully support trials of mid and lower-level perpetrators in courts in the former Yugoslavia, including those transferred from the ICTY, pursuant to Rule 11bis. The Tribunal has also undertaken an intensive and wide-ranging effort to help strengthen the capacity of national institutions to process war crimes cases.

For a case to be referred pursuant to Rule 11bis, the Referral Bench, comprised of three judges, has to order a referral of its own accord or following a request from the Prosecutor. A decision to refer a case is rendered only if the Bench is fully satisfied that the accused would be tried to the highest international standards and that neither the level of responsibility of the accused nor the gravity of the crimes alleged in the indictment were factors that would make a referral to the national authorities inappropriate. Currently, there are eight cases involving 15 accused under the 11bis procedure being considered by the Referral Bench, the majority for referral to Bosnia and Herzegovina.


The original indictment against Stankovic was confirmed on 26 June 1996 and included seven other persons. Stankovic was apprehended by the NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) in the Foca area on 9 July 2002, and was transferred to the Tribunal the following day. A subsequent amended indictment charging only the accused was filed on 8 December 2003 and confirmed on 24 February 2004.

Stankovic is charged with four counts of crimes against humanity and four counts of violations of the laws or customs of war. The indictment alleges that, following the takeover of Foca in April 1992 by Serb forces, military and police accompanied by local and non-local soldiers started arresting Muslim inhabitants. During the arrests, many civilians were killed, beaten or subjected to sexual assault. Muslim women, children and the elderly were detained in houses, apartments and motels in the town of Foca and in surrounding villages, or at short and long-term detention centres such as the Foca High School and the Partizan Sports Hall. Many of the detained women were subjected to humiliating and degrading conditions of life, to brutal beatings and to sexual assault, including rape. Besides the above-mentioned places of detention, several women were detained in houses and apartments used as brothels and operated by groups of soldiers, mostly paramilitary.

Stankovic is charged on the basis of individual criminal responsibility under Article 7(1) of the Statute. The indictment alleges that from about 3 August 1992 until about 10 October 1992, Stankovic, together with other Serb soldiers, was in charge of a house used to detain at least nine Muslim women and girls who were subjected to repeated rape and sexual assault. His alleged participation included assigning the women and girls to specific Serb soldiers to be raped and otherwise sexually assaulted. The indictment further alleges that he personally raped at least two women, one of whom he claimed as his own, in order to repeatedly rape her over a three month time span.

On 21 September 2004, the Prosecutor requested that the case against Stankovic be referred to Bosnia and Herzegovina pursuant to Rule 11bis. A hearing was held on 4 March 2005 and the Referral Bench, comprised of Judges Orie (presiding), Kwon and Parker, rendered its decision on 17 May 2005 for the case to be referred. The Prosecution filed a notice of appeal on 30 May, seeking that the Decision of the Referral Bench be revised in the parts relating to questions of monitoring and reporting. The Defence appealed the Decision on 16 June, objecting to the referral of the case. On 1 September 2005, the Appeals Chamber issued its Decision, allowing the Prosecution to appeal in part and dismissing the Defence appeal in its entirety, thereby confirming referral of the case to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

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