ICTY Appeals Chamber reduces Dragomir Milosevic's sentence to 29 years 12 Nov 2009
The Appeals Chamber has partially affirmed the Trial Judgement against Dragomir Milosevic and reduced his sentence to 29 years.

Dragomir MilosevicOn 12 November 2009, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) partially upheld the Trial Chamber’s Judgement in the case of Dragomir Milošević. The Appeals Chamber dismissed the Prosecution’s sole ground of appeal requesting that Milošević be sentenced to life imprisonment, instead reducing Milošević’s sentence from 33 to 29 years’ imprisonment.

Dragomir Milošević is the former commander of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps (SRK) of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) which encircled and entrapped the city of Sarajevo for three and a half years. Milošević assumed the command of the SRK from August 1994 to the end of the conflict in November 1995. In 2007, Milošević was convicted of crimes against humanity and of a violation of the laws or customs of war. He was found guilty of five counts of terror, murder and inhumane acts which resulted in the injury and death of a significant number of civilians and was sentenced to 33 years’ imprisonment.

The Appeals Chamber dismissed two counts of unlawful attacks against civilians as impermissibly cumulative, stating that the elements of the crime of unlawful attacks against civilians are fully encompassed by the crime of terror.

The Appeals Chamber also upheld the majority of the Trial Chamber’s convictions for ordering the shelling of the civilian population in Sarajevo, except for the shelling of the Baščaršija Flea Market, of the BITAS building and of the Markale Market. It held that the Trial Chamber failed to address deficiencies in the evidence. With respect to the shelling of the BITAS building and the Markale Market, the Appeals Chamber noted that during this period, the Chief of Staff, Čedomir Sladoje, was in charge of the SRK command in Sarajevo and issued orders as a commander, while Milošević was receiving medical treatment in Belgrade.

Command responsibility

The Appeals Chamber also replaced Milošević’s convictions for planning and ordering the sniping of the civilian population with respective convictions under Article 7(3) of the Tribunal’s Statute (Command responsibility). The Appeals Chamber held that evidence cited in the Trial Judgement did not support a finding that Milošević planned and ordered the sniping incidents. However, it held that he was responsible as a commander for having failed to prevent and punish crimes committed by his subordinates. With respect to the modes of Milošević’s liability, Judge Fausto Pocar, said that no reduction in sentence was warranted since, “Milošević did more than merely tolerate the crimes as a commander […] he provided additional encouragement to his subordinates to commit the crimes against the civilians.” However, the Appeals Chamber found that the reversal of Milošević’s convictions for three shelling incidents had an impact on Milošević’s overall culpability and thus reduced his sentence to 29 years’ imprisonment.  

Milošević’s claim that Vojničko Polje, Alipašino Polje, Dobrinja, Sedrenik, Hrasnica and Marin Dvor were military zones within the city of Sarajevo, was dismissed. The Appeals Chamber further rejected Milošević’s challenges with respect to the civilian status of the victims of a number of shelling and sniping incidents. The Appeals Chamber dismissed both Milošević’s and the Prosecution’s appeal on the length of the sentence imposed by the Trial Chamber.

Dragomir Milošević surrendered to the Tribunal on 3 December 2004. His trial began on 10 January 2007 and ended in October of the same year. Milošević’s predecessor at the command of the SRK, Stanislav Galić, was sentenced on appeal to life imprisonment in November 2006.

Dragomir Milošević

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