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Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Mladen Milanović

Court Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Section I for War Crimes, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Case number KT-RZ 155/06
Decision title Indictment
Decision date 6 December 2007
  • Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Mladen Milanović
Categories Torture, War crimes
Keywords Torture; war crimes against civilians; former Yugoslavia
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Mladen Milanović, who was a prison camp guard during the war in the former Yugoslavia, was accused of war crimes against civilians as he was alleged to have repeatedly allowed members of military and paramilitary forces to enter the camp and to abuse the captured civilians. After more than six years of proceedings before several courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Supreme Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina ultimately found Milanović guilty of the charged crimes and sentenced him to one year and four months in prison (with credit for time already spent in custody) on 14 January 2014.

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Procedural history

Milanović was taken into custody in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on 27 July 2007. The final indictment against him was issued on 6 December 2007.

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Related developments

On 12 December 2007, the final indictment issued against Milanović was confirmed.

On 10 January 2008, the Court of BiH issued a decision ordering the conduct of proceedings to be transferred to the Sarajevo Cantonal Court. The Sarajevo Cantonal Court acquitted him of all charges in November 2008. The prosecution appealed; in November 2011 the Supreme Court of the Federation of BiH ordered a retrial. This retrial resulted on 15 February 2013 in a verdict, when the Supreme Court found him guilty of the charges and sentenced him to one year in prison. Both prosecution and defence appealed; in third and last instance, the Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and increased Milanović’s sentence with four months on 14 January 2014.

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Legally relevant facts

The indictment alleged that, during the period from May to August 1992, Milanović, as guard in the detention camp “Bunker” in Semizovac, Vogošća municipality (BiH), physically attacked and beat a Bosniak civilian. The indictment further alleged that, while on duty as a guard, Milanović allowed other members of military and paramilitary forces to enter the camp and to physically and mentally abuse detained Bosniak civilians. For these acts, he was charged with war crimes against civilians pursuant to Article 173(1)(a) of the Criminal Code of BiH (‘attack on civilian population, settlement, individual civilians or persons unable to fight, which results in the death, grave bodily injuries or serious damaging of people’s health’), and Article 173(1)(c) of the Criminal Code of BiH (killings, torture and other inhumane treatment).

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Core legal questions

Can Milanović be found guilty of war crimes against civilians, committed as alleged in the indictment?

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Specific legal rules and provisions

Geneva Convention (IV),1949:

  • Article 3(1)(a) and (c) - Conflicts not of an international character

Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2003:

  • Article 29 - Accomplices

  • Article 31(1) - Accessory

  • Article 173(1)(a) and (c) - War Crimes against Civilians

  • Article 180(1) - Individual Criminal Responsibility
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Instruments cited

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Additional materials

Mladen Milanović’, TRIAL.

Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina, ‘X-KR-07/326 - Milanović Mladen: Case Information'.

Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina, 'Custody ordered for Mladen Milanovic', 30 July 2007.

BIRN BiH, ‘Milanovic Case Referred to Cantonal Court in Sarajevo’, Justice Report, 12 February 2008.

E. Mackic, ‘Selecting Priorities in War Crimes Processing’, Justice Report, 27 November 2008.

Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina, 'Indictment confirmed in the Mladen Milanović case', 12 December 2007.

Justice Report, ‘Bosnia War Crimes Defendant Fails to Show Up’, Balkan Transitional Justice, 8 February 2012.

BIRN BiH, ‘Local Justice – Milanovic: Indictee in Poor Health’, Justice Report, 12 September 2012.

A. Sorguc, ‘Sentence against Milanovic Increased’, Justice Report, 15 January 2014.