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.


Martić (IT-95-11) “RSK

Trial Judgment: 12 June 2007; Appeal Judgment: 8 October 2008

Milan Martić, who held positions including President, Minister of Defence, and Minister of Internal Affairs in the SAO Krajina and RSK, stood trial for allegedly, having participated in the creation, financing, supply, training and direction of Martić’s Police; commanded, controlled, directed and otherwise exercised effective control over these special police forces; participated in the creation, financing, supply, training and direction of special police forces of the Serbian State Security Service; participated in military actions and subsequent crimes of these police and military forces throughout the targeted territories; participated in the planning, preparation and execution of the take-over of territories in the Croatian SAOs and parts of BiH; planned, instigated, ordered, committed, or otherwise aided and abetted the planning, preparation, or execution of the persecutions, exterminations, murders, imprisonment, torture, inhumane acts, and cruel treatment of the Croat, Muslim and other non-Serb civilian populations in Serb Krajina and Zagreb; openly espoused and encouraged the creation of a homogenous Serbian State encompassing the territories SAO Krajina and actively participated with his troops to achieve this end; and planned and ordered the shelling attacks on Zagreb in May 1995.

The prosecution accused Martić of individual and superior criminal responsibility and participation in a joint criminal enterprise for crimes against humanity for persecutions, extermination, murder, imprisonment, torture, inhumane acts including forcible transfers, and deportations; and for violations of the laws or customs of war for murder, torture, cruel treatment, wanton destruction of villages or devastation not justified by military necessity, destruction or willful damage to institutions dedicated to education or religion, plunder of private or public property, and attacks on civilians.

In 2007, the Trial Chamber acquitted Martić of extermination but found Martić individually criminally responsible for all other charges, and found that the crimes perpetuated by Martić against the non-Serb population were part of a joint criminal enterprise with a common purpose to forcibly remove the majority of the non-Serb population from parts of Croatia and BiH in order to create a new Serb-dominated State.

In 2008, the Appeals Chamber dismissed nine of Martić’s appeals and decided one; the Appeals Chamber found that the Trial Chamber erred when it found a link between Martić and the principal perpetrators with regards to crimes committed in three municipalities, consisting of Cerovljani, Vuković, and Poljanak; the Appeals Chamber reversed Martić’s convictions as they related to those crimes, but upheld the convictions with regards to other localities. The Trial Chamber sentenced Martić to 35 years’ imprisonment, which was upheld by the Appeals Chamber.