[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website; JURIST news archive] on Monday convicted [press release] former Bosnian army commander Rasim Delic [ICTY case backgrounder, PDF; Trial Watch profile] of cruel treatment and sentenced him to three years in prison. With one judge dissenting, a trial chamber found Delic responsible for actions of the El Mujahedin Detachment (EMD), which subjected 12 members of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) to severe beatings and electric shocks and forced them to kiss the severed heads of other detainees. He was acquitted of three other counts of murder and cruel treatment. According to a summary [text] of the judgment,
the Majority [of judges], inter alia, recalled the appallingly brutal nature of the acts of mistreatment against the 12 VRS soldiers, which had lasted more than one month, and the physical and mental suffering that the victims had endured while subjected to such abysmal treatment during their detention in Livade and the Kamenica Camp. The Majority also noted that the victims had been detained under strict guard of the EMD. This situation rendered the victims particularly vulnerable. The Majority was also mindful that it had found Rasim Delic to have had imputed knowledge of these crimes, as opposed to actual knowledge.
In acquitting Delic of the remaining charges, the chamber found that he either did not have a superior-subordinate relationship with the perpetrators of the alleged crimes or did not not have reason to know of the crimes. Delic's sentence will be reduced by the 488 days he has already spent in custody. BBC News has more. AFP has additional coverage. BalkanInsight.com has local coverage.
Delic is one of the highest-ranking Bosnian military leaders to stand trial before the tribunal. Last year, the ICTY denied a prosecution motion [JURIST report] to move Delic's trial out of The Hague. Prosecutors sought the change [JURIST report] after the court limited the scope of the trial and the number of witnesses prosecutors could call. After he was charged in early 2005, Delic surrendered to the court in 2005 and pleaded not guilty [JURIST reports]. Delic's predecessor as commander, Sefer Halilovic [ICTY case backgrounder], was cleared of war crimes charges [JURIST report] the same year. The ICTY Appeals Chamber upheld the acquittal [JURIST report] in 2007.