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The Prosecutor v. Vidoje Blagojević and Dragan Jokić

Court International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Trial Chamber I, The Netherlands
Case number IT-02-60-T
Decision title Judgment
Decision date 17 January 2005
  • The Prosecutor
  • Vidoje Blagojević
  • Dragan Jokić
Categories Crimes against humanity, Genocide, War crimes
Keywords genocide, murder, persecution, war crimes, aiding and abetting, complicity, extermination, inhumane acts, Srebrenica
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In July 1995, the Army of the Republika Srpska (VRS) attacked the Srebrenica enclave in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After the attacks, units of the VRS killed Bosnian Muslim men and removed women, children and the elderly out of Srebrenica. Two VRS units, the Bratunac and Zvornik Brigades of the Drina Corps, were involved in the commission of crimes against the Bosnian Muslims. While Blagojević was the Commander of the former, Jokić was the Chief of Engineering of the Zvornik Brigade.

Trial Chamber I found that Blagojević's assistance had a substantial effect on the commission of the crimes and that he was aware that his acts would assist the perpetrators. Therefore, he was found guilty of aiding and abetting the crimes of complicity to commit genocide, crimes against humanity (murder, persecutions, and inhumane acts) and war crimes (murder) but he was acquitted of the charges of extermination (as crimes against humanity).

Jokić was also found to have aiding and abetted the crimes against humanity of extermination and persecutions and the war crime of murder as a consequence of his acts of assistance and his knowledge that his acts would facilitate the commission of these crimes.

Trial Chamber I handed down a sentence of 18 years to Blagojević and 9 years to Jokić.

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Procedural history

The amended joinder indictment was filed on 26 May 2003. The trial commenced on 14 May 2003, and closing arguments were presented between 29 September and 1 October 2004.

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Related developments

The Prosecution filed its appeal brief on 9 May 2005, followed by Blagojević on 20 October 2005 and Jokić on 6 July 2006.

The Appeals Chamber in its judgment of 9 May 2007 reduced Blagojević's sentence to 15 years of imprisonment and affirmed the 9 years' sentence of Jokić. 

Following the decision of the Appeals Chamber, Blagojević was transferred to Norway to serve his sentence on 25 January 2008, and Jokić was transferred to Austria on 22 December 2008. See the ICTY Press Releases: 'Vidoje Blagojević Transferred to Norway to Serve Sentence', 25 January 2008; and 'Dragan Jokić Transferred to Austria to Serve Sentence', 22 December 2008.

On 13 January 2010, Jokić was granted early release.

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Legally relevant facts

The Army of the Republika Srpska (VRS) attacked and gained control over the municipality of Srebrenica (Bosnia and Herzegovina) between 6 and 11 July 1995 (paras. 119 et seq.). The conduct of two units of the VRS, the Bratunac and Zvornik Brigades of the Drina Corps of the VRS, gave rise to the case against the accused.

Following the attack on Srebrenica, Bosnian Muslims fled to the village of Potočari in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Bosnian Muslim population was subjected to beatings, insufficient food, water and space. Many of them were murdered (paras. 141 et seq.).

More than 7,000 of the Bosnian Muslim men who fled the Srebrenica enclave on 10 July 1995 were captured and brought to execution sites in the municipalities of Bratunac and Zvornik in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The detainees were subjected to inhumane conditions, kept in overcrowded places, beaten, abused and ultimately murdered (paras. 264 et seq.). 

During this time, Vidoje Blagojević was the Commander of the Bratunac Brigade (para. 4), while Dragan Jokić was the Chief of Engineering of the Zvornik Brigade (para. 11).

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Core legal questions

  • Have the charged crimes been committed after the fall of the Srebrenica enclave in July 1995?
  • Can the two accused, Blagojević and Jokić, be held individually responsible under the provision of Article 7(1) of the ICTY Statute?
  • Can Blagojević be held responsible as a superior in the meaning of Article 7(3) of the ICTY Statute?

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Specific legal rules and provisions

  • Articles 3, 4, and 5 of the ICTY Statute.
  • Articles 7(1) and 7(3) of the ICTY Statute.

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Court's holding and analysis

Trial Chamber I found that the charged crimes were committed in July 1995, including the crime of genocide, war crimes (murder), and crimes against humanity (extermination, murder, persecutions and inhumane acts) (paras. 535 et seq.). 

Trial Chamber I found that Blagojević “rendered practical assistance that had a substantial effect on the commission of genocide in the knowledge that the principal perpetrators of these acts had the intent to destroy in whole or in part the Bosnian Muslim group from Srebrenica” (para. 787), which led the Chamber to find him “responsible for complicity in genocide through aiding and abetting the commission of genocide” (para. 787). Blagojević was acquitted of the charge of extermination (para. 751), but was found responsible for aiding and abetting murder, persecutions and inhumane acts (as crimes against humanity) and murder as a war crime (paras. 726 et seq.). Trial Chamber I could not find Blagojević responsible as a superior under Article 7(3) of the ICTY Statute (paras. 795-6).

Jokić's “acts of assistance included co-ordinating, sending and monitoring the deployment of Zvornik Brigade resources and equipment to the mass execution sites ... [which constituted] sufficient evidence to establish beyond reasonable doubt that Dragan Jokić aided and abetted … murders” (para. 770), as war crime. Furthermore, Jokić was found to have aided and abetted extermination (para. 772), and persecutions (para. 775) as crimes against humanity.

Blagojević and Jokić were sentenced to respectively 18 and 9 years' imprisonment.

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Further analysis

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Instruments cited

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Additional materials