|(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)||
The Hague, 16 April 2001
Dragan Obrenovic transferred into the Custody of the International Tribunal
The accused was the Acting Commander of the Zvornik Brigade
which allegedly participated in the Srebrenica mass-killings
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) welcomes the detention of Dragan Obrenovic by elements of the SFOR forces on Sunday 15 April 2001.
Following his detention, Dragan Obrenovic was transferred to the Detention Unit of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) later on the same day.
The date and time for the initial appearance of Dragan Obrenovic, at which he will be asked to enter a plea to the charges against him, will be set in the coming days. They will be announced in due course.
STATEMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT AND BY THE PROSECUTOR
The President of the Tribunal, Judge Claude Jorda, wishes to underline that "the detention of Dragan Obrenovic stresses the need for UN Member States to nominate candidates for the upcoming elections of ad-litem judges as this increase in the judgement capacity of the Tribunal is paramount to the accomplishment of its mission within a reasonable timeframe."
The Prosecutor, Ms. Carla del Ponte, said that that she is "satisfied with the detention by SFOR of Dragan Obrenovic. This detention occurs less than one week after the confirmation of the indictment of Dragan Obrenovic; it is also the first since June 2000: the detention of Dragan Obrenovic is a very welcome resuming of SFOR’s assistance."
BACKGROUND ON THE INDICTMENT, THE ACCUSED AND THE CHARGES
The indictment of Dragan Obrenovic was signed by the Prosecutor on 23 March 2001, and confirmed by Judge Liu Daqun on 9 April 2001, who also granted the Prosecutor’s request that the indictment be not disclosed until the detention of the accused.
The indictment alleges that "Dragan Obrenovic participated in a criminal plan and enterprise, the common purpose of which was to detain, capture, and summarily execute by firing squad and bury over five thousand Muslim men and boys from the Srebrenica enclave, including the exhumation of the victims’ bodies and re-burial in hidden locations. This enterprise began on 11 July 1995 with the planning of the enterprise and ended on approximately 1 November 1995".
When the Srebrenica operation began on 4 July 1995, Dragan Obrenovic, as the Deputy Commander of the Zvornik Brigade, was in charge of the Brigade. He remained in charge throughout mid-day 15 July 1995 when the Commander, Vinko Pandurevic, returned to the Brigade area. Dragan Obrenovic became again Acting Commander of the Zvornik Brigade from 4 August to 16 September 1995, and from 18 September to 24 September 1995.
Indicted on the basis of his personal criminal responsibility and his responsibility as a superior, Dragan Obrenovic is charged with five counts: Complicity in Genocide (among others, for the mass-execution of thousand of captured Bosnian Muslim males from the Srebrenica "safe area" which occurred in several locations in and around the Zvornik Brigade zone of responsibility), Crimes against humanity (extermination, murder and persecution on political, racial and religious grounds) and Violations of the laws or customs of war (murder).