Zoran Vukovic detained by SFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) welcomes the detention of Zoran VUKOVIC by elements of SFOR on Thursday 23 December 1999.
Zoran VUKOVIC is one of the seven individuals indicted in June 1996 for crimes allegedly committed during the attack and after the take-over of the Foca municipality (south-eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina) by the Bosnian Serb military and paramilitary forces in 1992.
He is the third accused in the Foca indictment in the custody of the ICTY, following the surrender of Dragoljub KUNARAC on 4 March 1998 and the detention by SFOR of Radomir KOVAC on 2 August 1999
The detention of Zoran VUKOVIC brings to 34 the number of accused in the Tribunal's custody. 31 other indicted individuals remain provisionally at large.
BACKGROUND ON THE ACCUSED AND THE INDICTMENT
Zoran VUKOVIC was born on 6 September 1955. According to the indictment, he was involved in the attack on Foca and its surrounding villages and in the arrest of civilians, as one of the sub-commanders of the paramilitary police and a paramilitary leader.
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."
BACKGROUND ON THE CHARGES
The Foca indictment issued in 1996 charged Gojko Jankovic, Janko Janjic, Radomir Kovac, Zoran Vukovic, Dragan Zelenovic, Dragoljub Kunarac and Radovan Stankovic with grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, violations of the laws or customs of war and crimes against humanity. Revised charges were filed under seal by the Prosecutor on 7 October 1999.
Zoran VUKOVIC is now charged with 4 counts of violations of the laws or customs of war (torture and rape) and 4 counts of crimes against humanity (torture and rape).
A time and date for Zoran VUKOVIC's initial appearance, at which he will enter a plea to the charges against him, will be set in due course.
STATEMENT BY THE PROSECUTOR
Madame Carla Del Ponte, the Prosecutor of the ICTY, welcomes the detention of Zoran VUKOVIC:
"This latest detention is the sixth carried out this year by SFOR forces. Since July 1997, SFOR forces have detained 17 indictees, be it under public or sealed indictments; this means that SFOR forces have detained the half of the number of accused currently detained at the ICTY's Detention Unit.
I commend SFOR for this significant contribution to international justice. I am confident that there will be further detentions by SFOR".