News

Criminal Complaint For Crimes Committed In Ilijaš In 1992

30.05.2016

The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) and theAssociation of Family Members of Missing Persons from Ilijaš filed a criminal complaint with the Republic of Serbia Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor on May 17th, 2016, for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during 1992 against the non-Serb population in the Municipality of Ilijaš, Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H).

The criminal complaint was filed against the former President of the so-called Serb Municipality of Ilijaš and the President of the Crisis Staff during the war, Ratko Adžić, a retired teacher from the Philological High School in Belgrade, and against a number of former members of the security forces who acted under the control of the Crisis Staff and who now live in Serbia. More than 45 persons, who are suspected of committing murder, forced disappearances, looting and abuse against non-Serb civilians from Ilijaš, have been identified in the criminal complaint, but their current place of residence is unknown.

Ratko Adžić was the Chief of the Crisis Staff of the so-called Serb Municipality of Ilijaš and the Commander of the Serb Security Forces in Ilijaš from 1991. During this period, the security forces under the command of the Crisis Staff committed mass murders, abuse and looting of civilians when attacking non-Serb villages in the Municipality of Ilijaš in May and June 1992, as well as mass unlawful detentions of non-Serb civilians, including women and children, in at least seven detention facilities in Ilijaš, mainly schools and factories, in which civilians were subject to abuse and inhuman treatment. More than 300 non-Serb civilians, residents of the Municipality of Ilijaš, were detained in these detention facilities. The criminal complaint encompasses the killings and forced disappearances of at least 67 civilians, which were committed during the attacks launched on the villages in Ilijaš or during the period of detention in camps. The mortal remains of some of the victims were found in 1996 in two mass graves located in the Municipality of Ilijaš – in Lješevo and Žerovanj; however, more than 50 of the victims are still reported as missing.
After taking control of the government in Ilijaš in 1991, the Crisis Staff undertook a series of discriminatory measures directed against the non-Serb population in this Municipality, which was reflected in the dismissals from positions in the municipal government and certain companies, and the confiscations of the property and forcible relocations of non-Serbs from Ilijaš in mid-May 1992 and throughout the rest of the 1992.
The criminal complaint also encompasses the destruction of a great number of historical and religious facilities in Ilijaš, including a Catholic church in Taračin Dol and 21 Islamic religious facilities, including a mosque in Stari Ilijaš, a mosque in Misoča, a religious school in Bioča and a mosque in Srednje.
A great number of exhibits testifying to the actions of the authorities in Ilijaš towards the non-Serb population during 1992 have been presented before the ICTY. The ICTY Trial Chamber judgment in the Stanišić and Župljanin Case (par. 1252-1289) and the ICTY Trial Chamber judgment in the Krajišnik Case (par. 557-565) describe the taking of control of the Municipality of Ilijaš, the attacks on Lješevo and Gornja Bioča and the detention of the local population. The Chamber concluded that the imprisonment of citizens in detention facilities constituted unlawful imprisonment and that the conditions there constituted the establishment and perpetuation of inhumane living conditions (par. 1286). The Trial Chamber stated (par. 1289) that “Serb forces committed persecution, as a crime against humanity, against Muslims and Croats in the Municipality of Ilijaš”. Adžić appeared as a witness in the Mladić Case and stated (par. 24795) that non-Serb civilians „were captured following combat operations“. Slobodan Avlijaš, an official in the Republic of Srpska Ministry of Justice, stated in his testimony before the ICTY (p. 15595-15596) that the Crisis Staff in Ilijaš ordered the detention of civilians and the Staff was in charge of the detention facilities. The ICTY also presented a great deal of evidence pointing to the role of the Crisis Staff during the war in B&H (for instance, the “Report on Bosnian Serbs’ Crisis Headquarters”), and the role of Ratko Adžić in the events in the Municipality of Ilijaš (for instance, the documents which he signed: the list for the exchange of prisoners; the request for weapons addressed to Radovan Karadžić;the request addressed to the Serb Volunteer Guard for manpower; and so forth).
The HLC attached more than 50 pieces of evidence to the criminal complaint, including statements of surviving victims and eyewitnesses, official documents of the so-called Serb Municipality of Ilijaš and its Crisis Staff, the testimony of Ratko Adžić given before the ICTY and other exhibits collected by the ICTY.