|(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)||
The Hague, 15 August 2003
JL/ P.I.S/ 775-e
Mitar Rasevic Transferred to the ICTY Detention Unit
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) confirms that Mitar Rasevic was transferred to the Detention Unit, today 15August 2003.
Background on the Case
On 29 November 2001, following a request by the Prosecutor, Judge Liu Daqun unsealed an Indictment against Mitar Rasevic and Savo Todovic. Originally, Mitar Rasevic and Savo Todovic were jointly charged with Milorad Krnojelac in an Indictment dated 11 June 1997. On 15 June 1998, SFOR apprehended Milorad Krnojelac who was subsequently transferred to the Tribunal. On 15 March 2002, Trial Chamber II sentenced him to seven and a half years’ imprisonment.
According to the Indictment, on 7 April 1992, Serb military forces, which included Bosnian Serbs and citizens of Serbian descent from other parts of the former Yugoslavia, began the occupation of Foca town in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was completed on 16 or 17 April 1992.
It is alleged that as soon as the Serb forces controlled parts of Foca, military police, accompanied by local and non-local soldiers, started arresting Muslim and other non-Serb inhabitants. Most, if not all, detainees were civilians who had not been charged with any crime. They were mostly Muslim men from 16 to 80 years’ of age, including mentally handicapped, physically disabled and seriously ill persons. The Foca Kazneno-Popravni Dom (KP Dom), one of the largest prisons in the former Yugoslavia, became the primary detention facility for the men.
From April 1992 until October 1994, Mitar Rasevic was the commander of the KP Dom guards. His primary duty was to supervise at least 37 guards. He was allegedly in charge of the solitary confinement cells and had the power to release detainees from isolation. He communicated with external military and political authorities, especially with regard to prisoner exchanges and allowed the Serb military personnel to enter the prison to assault the detainees whenever they wanted.
The Indictment alleges that, "On numerous evenings from April until July 1992, the KP Dom guards used prepared lists to select detainees who were to be beaten…Generally, the guard commander, Mitar Rasevic, was present during selection of the detainees. Sometimes he read out the names of the selected detainees from the lists. Then, the detainees were led to the administration building, where they were beaten by prison guards or soldiers who had been allowed to enter the prison to beat detainees."
The Indictment further alleges that, "The guards and soldiers assaulted the detainees with all sorts of weapons, including batons, rifle butts, knives and tools. Some of the detainees were selected for beatings several times. A substantial number of the selected detainees never returned from the beatings and are still missing."
The Indictment charges Mitar Rasevic on the basis of individual criminal responsibility (Article 7(1) of the Statute) and, or alternatively, superior criminal responsibility (Article 7(3) of the Statute) with:
- Seven counts of crimes against humanity (Article 5 of the Statute – persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds; torture; inhumane acts; murder; imprisonment; enslavement);
- Five counts of violations of the laws or customs of war (Article 3 of the Statute – torture; cruel treatment; murder; slavery);
- Six counts of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions (Article 2 of the Statute – torture; wilfully causing serious injury to body or health; wilful killing; unlawful confinement of a civilian; wilfully causing great suffering; inhuman treatment).
The date of the initial appearance hearing will be announced in due course.
The full text of the Indictment can be found in English, French and BCS on the Tribunal’s web site at www.un.org/icty
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
For more information, please contact our Media Office in The Hague
Tel.: +31-70-512-8752; 512-5343; 512-5356 Fax: +31-70-512-5355 - Email: press [at] icty.org ()
Follow ICTY on Twitter and Youtube