skip navigation

The Prosecutor v. Stevan Todorović

Court International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Trial Chamber III, The Netherlands
Case number IT-95-9/1-S
Decision title Sentencing Judgment
Decision date 31 July 2001
  • The Prosecutor
  • Stevan Todorović
Categories Crimes against humanity
Keywords Bosanski Šamac, crimes against humanity, guilty plea, Sentence, sentencing factors
Other countries involved
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
back to top


On 17 April 1992, the Serb forces gained control over the municipality of Bosanski Šamac (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Following the takeover, they launched a series of attacks aiming to remove the Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Muslim inhabitants from the area. As a result, the Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims were murdered, beaten, sexually assaulted, deported and those who were unlawfully confined, were subjected to various mistreatments. During this time, Stevan Todorović acted as the Chief of Police in Bosanski Šamac (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

On 19 January 2001, Todorović pleaded guilty to the crime against humanity of persecution, and, subsequently, the Trial Chamber entered a finding of guilt on the same day. 

Trial Chamber III balanced the gravity of the crimes, the aggravating and mitigating circumstances in order to determine the appropriate sentence for Todorović. Trial Chamber III considered that the offences perpetrated by Todorović were of serious gravity, and the underlying cruelty of the commission was an aggravating factor. Similarly, Todorović’s position as Chief of Police was further an aggravating factor. Trial Chamber III also took the following mitigating circumstances into consideration: Todorović’s guilty plea, his cooperation with the Prosecution, and his remorse. 

Todorović was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment. 

back to top

Procedural history

The second amended indictment was filed on 19 November 1998.

On 29 November 2000, a joint motion was filed on his behalf with the Prosecution informing the Trial Chamber of an agreement reached between them as to the entry of a guilty plea to the count of persecution (as a crime against humanity) and the withdrawal of all other charges against him.

On 13 December 2000, Stevan Todorović pleaded guilty before Judge Robinson, and confirmed his guilty plea before the full Trial Chamber on 19 January 2001. The Trial Chamber entered a finding of guilt accordingly on the same day.

See ICTY, 'Plea Agreement Announced at Motion Hearing in Todorovic Case', ICTY Press Release, 13 December 2000; and ICTY, 'Todorovic Case: Guilty Plea Accepted by Trial Chamber', ICTY Press Release19 January 2001.

back to top

Related developments

On 11 December 2001, Stevan Todorović was transferred to Spain to serve his sentence. See ICTY, 'Stevan Todorovic Transferred to Spain to Serve Prison Sentence', ICTY Press Release, 11 December 2001.

On 22 June 2005, he was granted early release.

back to top

Legally relevant facts

On 17 April 1992, Serb military forces gained control over the municipality of Bosanski Šamac (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and undertook a campaign of terror designed to force the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat population to leave the area. “The Factual Basis sets out in more detail the agreed facts by which the crime of persecution … was perpetrated, namely: (a) the forcible take-over by Serb forces of cities, towns and villages inhabited by non-Serb civilians; (b) the murder, sexual assaults and repeated beatings of non-Serb civilians detained in various detention camps in the region; (c) the unlawful detention and confinement of non-Serb civilians under inhumane conditions on political, racial or religious grounds; (d) the cruel and inhumane treatment of non-Serb civilians including beatings, torture, forced labour and confinement under inhumane conditions; (e) the interrogation of non-Serb civilians who had been arrested and detained and forcing them to sign false and coerced statements; (f) the deportation, forced transfer and expulsion of non-Serb civilians from their homes and villages; and (g) the issuance of orders and directives which violated the rights of non-Serb civilians to equal treatment under the law and which infringed their enjoyment of basic and fundamental rights” (para. 12).

Stevan Todorović was the Chief of Police in Bosanski Šamac (Bosnia and Herzegovina) (para. 14).

back to top

Core legal questions

  • Taking into consideration the gravity of the crimes, the aggravating and mitigating circumstances, what is the appropriate sentence for Stevan Todorović?

back to top

Specific legal rules and provisions

  • Article 24 of the ICTY Statute.
  • Rule 101 of the ICTY Rules of Procedure and Evidence. 

back to top

Court's holding and analysis

Trial Chamber III noted “the extent of, and variation in, the criminal conduct underlying this conviction. In particular, the Trial Chamber finds the murder and the sexual assaults perpetrated by the accused to be serious offences … [and] certain of the criminal acts underlying the conviction of the accused were aggravated by their cruelty and by the fact that, as Chief of Police, the accused held a superior position. Consequently, the Trial Chamber concludes that Stevan Todorovic’s crime was particularly grave” (para. 66). 

Trial Chamber III also took mitigating factors into consideration and it held that “the following factors may be taken into account in mitigation of his sentence: the accused’s guilty plea (para. 75 et seq.), his substantial cooperation with the Prosecution (para. 83 et seq.), his expressed remorse for his crime (para. 89 et seq.), and the question of his diminished mental capacity” (para. 74). The last factor, however, was not given any weight as a mitigating factor, since “experts concluded that Stevan Todorovic was not suffering from a personality disorder during the relevant period … [and his] condition at the time the crimes were committed was not one which would give rise to mitigation of sentence” (para. 95).

Todorović was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment (para. 117).

back to top

Further analysis

  • See further H. Friman, ‘Commentary on Sentencing Judgment, Prosecutor v. Todorović, Case No. IT-05-9/1-S, T. Ch. I, 31 July 2001’ in A. Klip and G. Sluiter (eds.), Annotated Leading Cases of International Criminal Tribunals (Intersentia 2005), pp. 795 et seq..

back to top

Instruments cited

back to top

Additional materials