Skip to main content

Bosnian Muslim army chief temporarily released from jail by UN tribunal

Bosnian Muslim army chief temporarily released from jail by UN tribunal

The former head of the Bosnian Muslim forces during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, currently facing trial before a United Nations tribunal on war crimes charges, is being temporarily released from jail and allowed to return to Bosnia and Herzegovina on the understanding that he will go back before the proceedings resume.

Judges serving on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) confirmed on Friday that they had approved the provisional release of Rasim Delic, under certain restrictions, and a return to his homeland from 11 December until 11 January 2008.

Explaining their decision, the Tribunal judges noted that Mr. Delic has cooperated with the court so far and that the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Mr. Delic himself have issued guarantees that he will comply with all orders issued by the trial chamber and return to custody before the resumption of his trial. Prosecutors had not opposed Mr. Delic’s application.

Mr. Delic, who served as Commander of the Main Staff of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina from June 1993 until September 2005, is charged on the basis of his command responsibility for murder, cruel treatment and rape committed by his subordinate forces.

The charges include that he failed to take necessary and reasonable measures to punish those soldiers who executed captured Bosnian Croat civilians and soldiers in two villages in Travnik municipality in central Bosnia.

He also stands accused of failing to prevent the torture, beatings and murders – including a decapitation – committed by subordinates at Kamenica Camp, a detention centre for captured Bosnian Serb soldiers in central Bosnia.

In the most notorious murder, the decapitation of a Bosnian Serb soldier in July 1995, other prisoners were forced to kiss the severed head, which was later placed on a hook on the wall of the room where the prisoners were being held.

Mr. Delic, now 58, is also charged over the rape by his subordinates of three women at Kamenica Camp.

His trial at the ICTY, which sits in The Hague, began in July this year and prosecutors expect to wrap up their case by early next year.