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The Tribunal today sentenced Ivica Rajic to 12 years' imprisonment for his involvement in the October 1993 attack against the central Bosnian village of Stupni Do, which caused the death of approximately 31 civilians and the destruction of the village. He was also sentenced for his role in the rounding up of more than 250 Muslim men in the nearby town of Vares and their subsequent inhuman treatment.
On 26 October 2005, the former commander of the Second Operational Group of the Bosnian Croat Army pleaded guilty to four of the ten charges in the indictment against him: wilful killing, inhuman treatment, extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.
In determining the sentence, the Trial Chamber, Judges Van Den Wyngaert (presiding), Nosworthy and Höpfel took into account the gravity of crimes, as well as the aggravating and mitigating circumstances.
In regards to the gravity of the crimes, the Trial Chamber found that "...the crimes were committed on a large scale, were of particularly violent nature and caused severe pain to the victims and their relatives," and made note of the following example: "...two elderly women, one of whom was an invalid, were found burned inside a house and that seven members of the same Muslim family (two men, three women and two children aged 2 and 3 years old) were found burned inside their shelter." In addition, the Trial Chamber noted the importance of the role Rajic played in these events when, following orders of his own superiors, he planned and ordered the attacks and further ordered the rounding up of Muslim civilians, knowing the substantial likelihood that criminal acts would ensue following these orders.
In regards to the aggravating circumstances, the Trial Chamber "...considered that certain victims – five children and two elderly women, one of whom was an invalid – were in a situation of special vulnerability during the attack on Stupni Do" and that this is an aggravating factor.
The Judges also took into consideration a number of mitigating circumstances. Primarily, the Trial Chamber "held that Ivica Rajic's guilty plea helped to establish the truth surrounding the crimes committed in Stupni Do and Vares", and added that "this may contribute to the reconciliation of the peoples of the former SFRY and to the restoration of a lasting peace in the region". Additionally, the Trial Chamber took into consideration Ivica Rajic's remorse, as expressed in the statement he gave at his sentencing hearing, as well as his cooperation with the Prosecution and his personal circumstances.
Ivica Rajic will remain in the custody of the Tribunal until he is transferred to a State to serve his sentence.
The full summary of the judgement as read out by Judge Van Den Wyngaert at today's hearing, is attached and can be found on our website at www.un.org/icty.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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