Dragan Zelenovic’s sentencing hearing is scheduled on 23 February. Zelenovic is charged with multiple rape and torture of Bosniak girls in Foca. The prosecution has recommended a sentence of 10 to 15 years in prison, while the defense counsel calls for 7 to 10 years
Dragan Zelenovic pleading guilty for multiple rape and abuse charges where the victims were Bosniak girls in Foca
Dragan Zelenovic’s sentencing hearing will be held on 23 February, it was announced at the Tribunal today. Zelenovic has pleaded guilty to charges of multiple rape and torture of Bosniak girls in Foca.
The prosecution and the defense counsel will present the aggravating and mitigating circumstances that may be relevant for the Trial Chamber in their deliberation on the severity of the sentence. In the Plea Agreement, the prosecution asked for 10 to 15 years in prison, while the defense suggested a sentence of 7 to 10 years. The Trial Chamber is not bound by these sentencing proposals and can impose a harsher sentence, including life imprisonment.
Zelenovic pleaded guilty to seven counts in the indictment, where rape and torture were qualified as crimes against humanity. The same acts were cumulatively charged in the indictment as violations of the laws or customs of war. The prosecution dropped those charges after the accused pleaded guilty.
Between April 1992 and June 1993, the period relevant for the indictment, Dragan Zelenovic was one of the sub-commanders in the Bosnian Serb military police and a paramilitary leader in Foca. He admitted to raping two women, identified in the indictment by their pseudonyms, 75 and 87. He committed the rapes on several occasions in different places. One of victims was only fifteen years old at the time. She contemplated suicide, as she said.
The Chamber formally found Zelenovic guilty after it was satisfied that his guilty plea was voluntary, unequivocal and informed and that there was a prima facie case indicating that he really did commit the crimes he was charged with.
Seven other Bosnian Serbs were indicted together with Zelenovic by the Tribunal for the rape of women in Foca. Two of the accused were killed resisting arrest, and five of them have been sentenced to a total of 110 years in prison by the ICTY. All their sentences have been upheld on appeal. Kunarac got 28 years, Radomir Kovac 20 years and Zoran Vukovic 12 years in prison. The Tribunal referred two cases to State Court in Sarajevo. Stankovic was sentenced to 16 years and Gojko Jankovic to 34 years in prison. The first-instance judgment in the Jankovic case was in fact delivered today.