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 (1): 16 November 1998; Appeal Judgment (1): 20 February 2001; Trial Judgment (2): 9 October 2001; Appeal Judgment: 8 April 2003
Zdravko Mucić and Hazim Delić, commanders of the Čelebići prison camp, Esad Landžo, a guard in the Čelebići camp, and Zejnil Delalić, the coordinator of the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat forces in the Konjic area, stood trial for allegedly having engaged in or supervised the torture or cruel treatment, unlawful confinement, and willful killing and murder of Bosnian Serbs in the Čelebići prison camp and plunder of private property of Bosnian Serbs in the same region; this case marked the first time rape was recognized as a form of torture, which allowed charges of rape to be considered both as a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions and a violation of the laws and customs of war. The prosecution accused both Delić and Landžo, on the basis of individual criminal responsibility, with grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions for willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, and willful infliction of serious injury; and violations of the laws or customs of war for murder, cruel treatment, and torture. The prosecution accused Delić and Mucić with a violation of the laws or customs of war for acts of plunder, while the prosecution accused Delić, Mucić, and Delalić with grave breaches for acts of unlawful confinement, willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, and unlawful confinement; and with violations of laws or customs of war for murder, cruel treatment, and torture.
In 1998, the Trial Chamber acquitted Delalić on all charges, finding that he did not have command or control over the camp or the guards, and therefore could not be held criminally responsible for their actions, while Mucić, the commander of the prison camp, was convicted on the basis of superior responsibility for grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions for willful causing of great suffering or serious injury, unlawful confinement of civilians, willful killings, torture and inhuman treatment, as well as violations of the laws or customs of war for murder, torture, and cruel treatment; Delić and Landžo were convicted on the basis of individual criminal with grave breaches consisting of willful causing of great suffering or serious injury, unlawful confinement of civilians, willful killings, torture and inhuman treatment, as well as violations of the laws or customs of war for murder, torture, and cruel treatment.
In 2001, the Appeals Chamber decided the three convicted defendants’ appeals and the prosecution’s appeal, including related to the acquittal of Delalić and the sentences of those convicted; the Appeals Chamber considered that the Trial Chamber failed to take adequate accounts of the gravity of the offenses for which Mucić was convicted and failed to give adequate weight to aggravating matters and erred in making an adverse reference in its sentencing considerations to the fact that Mucić declined to give testimony, but found the considerations in the other two defendants’ cases were legitimate. The Trial Chamber sentenced Mucić to seven years’ imprisonment, Delić to 18 years’ imprisonment, and Landžo to 15 years’ imprisonment; the Appeals Chamber remitted the matter of an appropriate sentence for Mucić to the Trial Chamber, which amended his sentence to nine years.