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: 22 February 2001; Appeal Judgment: 12 June 2002
Dragoljub Kunarac, the leader of a reconnaissance unit of the VRS, and Radomir Kovač and Zoran Vuković, sub-commanders of the military police of the VRS and members of the paramilitary in the town of Foča, stood trial for allegedly having participated in a campaign of ethnic cleansing of Muslims from Foča and the mistreatment of Bosnian Muslims, including having repeatedly stolen from, enslaved, raped, and tortured Muslim women and girls who were held in various detention centers and soldiers’ apartments; this case marks the first time the ICTY issued sentences for rape and enslavement as crimes against humanity. The prosecution accused Kovač, on the basis of individual criminal responsibility, of violations of the laws or customs of war for rape and outrages upon personal dignity and crimes against humanity for enslavement and rape; Vuković, on the basis of individual criminal responsibility, with violations of the laws or customs of war for torture and rape and crimes against humanity for torture and rape; and Kunarac, on the basis of individual and superior criminal responsibility, for all these crimes.
In 2001, the Trial Chamber convicted: Kunarac for enslavement and rape as crimes against humanity and rape as a violation of the laws or customs of war; Kovač for enslavement and rape as crimes against humanity, and rape and outrages upon personal dignity as a violation of the laws or customs of war; and Vuković of torture and rape as both crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war.
In 2002, the Appeals Chamber dismissed the defendants’ appeals and upheld the Trial Chambers convictions and sentences. The Trial Chamber sentenced Kunarac to 28 years’ imprisonment, Kovač to 20 years’ imprisonment, and Vuković to 12 years’ imprisonment.