Bosnian Muslim army chief placed under house arrest by UN war crimes tribunal

19 December 2007

A judge at the United Nations war crimes tribunal set up to deal with the worst crimes of the Balkan wars of the 1990s today ordered that the former head of the Bosnian Muslim forces be placed under house arrest after he violated the terms of his temporary release from jail by discussing his case with someone other than his lawyers.

Rasim Delić must be placed under arrest and permanent surveillance by authorities at his residence and can only be released for the purpose of medical treatment, according to an order issued by Judge Wolfgang Schomburg of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which is based in The Hague.

Judge Schomburg said he was satisfied by prosecution arguments that Mr. Delić had discussed the case, and therefore breached the terms of his provisional release, when he met with Haris Silajdžić, a member of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency.

He also warned that any further infringement – however slight – of the conditions of Mr. Delić’s release could lead to the termination of that release.

Last month Mr. Delić, now 58, was granted provisional release from jail in The Hague, where he is facing trial, to return to Bosnia and Herzegovina from 11 December to 11 January on the understanding that he would abide by certain conditions and return to the Tribunal’s custody.

Mr. Delić, 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. Delić is also charged over the rape by his subordinates of three women at Kamenica Camp. His trial at the ICTY began in July this year and prosecutors expect to wrap up their case by early next year.

 

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