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.


Plavšić (IT-00-39 & 40/1) “Bosnia and Herzegovina

Trial Judgment: 27 February 2003

Biljana Plavšić, a Bosnian Serb political figure who was the Serbian representative to the collective Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and a member of the collective and expanded Presidencies of the Bosnian Serb Republic, stood trial for allegedly, as a participant in a joint criminal enterprise, having planned, instigated, ordered, committed or in whose planning, preparation or execution otherwise aided and abetted: conduct committed to destroy, in whole or in part, the national, ethnic, racial and religious groups of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats as such, in particular in Bosanski Novi, Brčko, Ključ, Kotor Varoš, Prijedor, and Sanski Most; the development and implementation of the SFS and Bosnian Serb government policies intended to advance the objective of the joint criminal enterprise; participated in the establishment, support, or maintenance of SDS and Bosnian Serb government bodies; supported, encouraged, or participated in the dissemination of information to Bosnian Serbs that they were in jeopardy at the hands of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats; exercised effective control over the Bosnian Serb political and governmental organs that participated in or facilitated crimes; encouraged the acquisition of arms and their distribution to further the objective of the joint criminal enterprise; requested the assistance or facilitated the participation of JNA/VJ forces and Serb and Bosnian Serb paramilitary units; directed, supported, or encouraged the incorporation into the Bosnian Serb Forces members of paramilitary forces and volunteer forces known to have participated or suspected of having participated in crimes; aided or abetted or instigated the commission of further crimes by failing to investigate, to follow up on investigations, and to punish subordinates in the Bosnian Serb Forces for crimes committed against Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Croats or other non-Serbs; and engaged in, supported, or facilitated efforts directed at representatives of the international community, NGOs, and the public denying or providing misleading information about crimes against Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Croats or other non-Serbs and about the role that Bosnian Serb force played in those crimes. The prosecution charged her with genocide and complicity to commit genocide, crimes against humanity for extermination, murder, persecutions, deportation, and inhumane acts, and violations of the laws or customs of war for murder.

In 2003, the Trial Chamber accepted her guilty plea for persecution as a crime against humanity. The Trial Chamber sentenced Plavšić to 11 years’ imprisonment.