indicting the top leaders

The statistics on what the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has accomplished as of November 2000 are:

96 people have been publicly indicted for war crimes (and 3 publicly acknowledged sealed indictments)...of these:

In custody at The Hague34

Of those indicted, the vast majority are low-ranking players in the war. Experts say one reason is that people who were most active and visible on the ground (therefore more likely to have had witnesses to their actions) generally were "tools" or pawns carrying out orders or acting on their own.

Top leaders are always harder to get because the higher the rank in the chain of command, the more links must be established in building the case. On the other hand, any number of sealed indictments may already exist at the Tribunal. In such cases the public doesn't find out about the indictment until the suspect is apprehended. Here is a list of some of the highest-ranking suspects publicly indicted:

(* = the highest-ranking suspects)


SERBS

*Radovan Karadzic - Leader of the Bosnian Serbs. He is still at large and believed to be hiding in Bosnia.

*Ratko Mladic - Karadzic's military commander. He headed the Bosnian Serb Army and has been implicated directly in massacres. Mladic is still at large and reportedly living in Belgrade.

*Radislav Krstic - Bosnian Serb general arrested in December 1998 by NATO forces. He was accused of directing the July 1995 attack on the UN "safe haven" of Srebrenica in which 7,000 unarmed Muslim men and boys were executed. Charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, he pled not guilty. On August 2, 2001 the international war crimes tribunal found Krstic guilty of genocide and he was sentenced to 46 years in prison. This was the court's first conviction on a charge of genocide in the Balkan conflict during the 1990s.

Milan Kovacevic- a Bosnian Serb doctor, who was charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in helping to set up and orchestrate three prison camps in the Prijedor region, where detainees were raped, tortured, and killed. Kovacevic was arrested in July 1997 and pled not guilty when his trial began in July 1998. He died in custody on August 1, 1998 of a ruptured aorta.

Goran Jelisic- commander of Luka camp in Brcko. Jelisic, who called himself the "Serb Adolf" after Hitler, was arrested by NATO troops in January 1998. He pled guilty to 31 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, admitting to the murders of 12 Muslims and Croats. He was acquitted of genocide charges by a UN war crimes tribunal in October 1999, and sentenced to 40 years in prison. He is appealing the sentence.

Radomir Kovac- former paramilitary leader, arrested in August 1999 for the systematic rape and torture of Bosnian Muslim women in the town of Foca. In March 2000, Kovac, along with two other defendants, was placed on trial - marking the first time an international court was set up specifically to hear rape charges. In July 2000, defense lawyers for the three men admitted that rapes took place in Foca, but denied their clients were guilty of war crimes. The trial is still pending.


CROATS

*Dario Kordic - leader of the Bosnian wing of Croatian President Franjo Tudjman's political party, and vice president of an area of Bosnia which called itself the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna. He surrendered to the international tribunal in October 1997, as a result of intense US and European pressure on Croatia. Kordic has pled innocent to 22 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for attempting to systematically purge the Muslim population of central Bosnia in 1992-1993. His trial opened in April 1999 and is still pending.

*Tihomir Blaskic - Chief of staff of Bosnian Croat Army. In April 1996, he turned himself in to the Hague tribunal on charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions for allegedly ordering the massacre of hundreds of Muslims in central Bosnia. His trial began in June 1997 and in March 2000 he was found guilty and sentenced to 45 years in prison. Many believe that Blaskic was framed by the late Croatian president Franjo Tudjman to cover up Tudjman's secret plans to annex Bosnian territories. Blaskic is currently appealing his sentence.


MUSLIMS

Zejnil Delalic - a military commander in southern Bosnia. He was arrested in March 1996 in Germany, and indicted for war crimes committed at the Celebic camp. After a 20-month trial, Delalic was acquitted on war crimes charges and released pending the prosecution's appeal.

 


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