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.


Krnojelac (IT-97-25) “Foča

Trial Judgment: 15 March 2002; Appeal Judgment: 17 September 2003

Milorad Krnojelac, the commander of the Serb-run KP Dom detention camp, stood trial for allegedly having participated in or aided and abetted the assisted in the deportation and expulsion of the majority of Muslim and non-Serb males from the Foča municipality and participated in the execution of a common plan of persecution against non-Serb male civilian detainees at KP Dom, including the prolonged and routine imprisonment of non-Serb civilians under living conditions characterized by inhuman treatment, overcrowding, starvation, forced labor, and constant physical and psychological assault. The prosecution accused him of violations of the laws or customs of war for cruel treatment and slavery; crimes against humanity for persecutions, inhumane acts, imprisonment, and enslavement; and torture and murder as both violations of the laws or customs of war and crimes against humanity.

In 2002, the Trial Chamber convicted Krnojelac of individual and superior responsibility for persecution as a crime against humanity and cruel treatment as a violation of the laws or customs of war and of superior responsibility for inhumane acts as a crime against humanity; the Trial Chamber held that there is no acceptable evidence that Krnojelac entered into any agreement for a joint criminal enterprise to commit beatings and torture against non-Serb detainees, and that there was no proof that the beatings inflicted on the non-Serb detainees was done so for torture rather than being totally arbitrary.

In 2003, the Appeals Chamber dismissed all of the defendants’ appeals and ruled on the prosecution’s appeals; the Appeals Chamber found that the Trial Chamber committed an error of fact when the Trial Chamber determined that Krnojelac did not have sufficient information alerting him to acts constituting torture and murder by his subordinates, which the Appeals Chamber determined that no reasonable trier of fact could reach that conclusion and found that the Trial Chamber failed in its duty by erroneously acquitting Krnojelac of torture and murder under the theory of superior criminal responsibility; the Appeals Chamber also determined that the Trial Chamber committed an error of fact when it acquitted Krnojelac of persecution and forced labor as crimes against humanity, as the beatings for which Krnojelac had superior criminal liability were performed only on non-Serb detainees, only non-Serb detainees were required to perform forced labor, and the non-Serb detainees received demonstrably different treatment than Serb detainees; the Appeals Chamber convicted Krnojelac as a co-perpetrator of a violation of the laws or customs of war for cruel treatment and crimes against humanity for persecution, and with superior criminal responsibility with torture and murder as crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war and persecution as a crime against humanity. The Trial Chamber sentenced Krnojelac to seven-and-a-half years’ imprisonment; the Appeals Chamber sentenced Krnojelac to 15 years’ imprisonment.