This case summary is part of a collection of summaries describing the cases before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). See the Online Resource Hub pages on the ICTY and International Criminal Law, and the table of ICTY case summaries for additional information.
Trial Judgment: 17 January 2005; Appeal Judgment: 9 May 2007
Vidoje Blagojević, the commander of the Bratunac Brigade of the VRS, and Dragan Jokić, the Chief of Engineering of the Zvornik Brigade of the VRS, stood trial for allegedly having committed, planned, instigated, ordered, and otherwise aided and abetted in the planning, preparation, and execution of the attacks on the Srebrenica safe area and its inhabitants, including the forced separation of Bosniak men of military age from Bosniak women and children; the detention of Bosniak men; the opportunistic killing of prisoners; the organized mass executions and exterminations of Bosniak men; and the forcible transfer of Bosnian Muslims from the Srebrenica enclave. The prosecution accused Blagojević, on the basis of individual and superior criminal responsibility and as a member of a joint criminal enterprise, of complicity to commit genocide and of crimes against humanity for inhumane acts of forcible transfer; the prosecution accused both Blagojević, on the basis of individual and superior criminal responsibility, and Jokić, on the basis of individual criminal responsibility, of crimes against humanity for extermination, murder, and persecutions, and violations of the laws or customs of war for murder.
In 2005, the Trial Chamber convicted Blagojević of complicity to commit genocide, aiding and abetting in crimes against humanity for murder, persecutions, and inhumane acts, and aiding and abetting violations of the laws or customs of war for murder; the Trial Chamber inferred the intent to commit genocide from the events following the “Krivaja 95” military operation which aimed to eliminate the Srebrenica enclave, and as a matter of course, the Bosniak community living there and found that Blagojević was not aware of exterminations taking place at the time they were committed. The Trial Chamber convicted Jokić of aiding and abetting crimes against humanity for extermination and persecutions, and aiding and abetting violations of the laws or customs of war for murder; the Trial Chamber found that it was not established beyond a reasonable doubt that Jokić provided assistance to the mass execution or that members of the Zvornik Brigade took place in that execution.
In 2007, the Appeals Chamber heard Blagojević’s appeal regarding his liability as an aider and abettor to genocide, and ground that the Trial Chamber erred when it determined that Blagojević was an aider to genocide based solely upon his knowledge of the forcible transfer and without knowledge of mass killings, when the ICTY previously determined that forcible transfer does not constitute in and of itself a genocidal act; the Trial Chamber reversed Blagojević’s conviction for complicity to commit genocide. The Trial Chamber sentenced Blagojević to 18 years’ imprisonment and Jokić to nine years’ imprisonment; Blagojević’s sentence was reduced to 15 years’ imprisonment by the Appeals Chamber.