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The Prosecutor v. Miroslav Deronjić

Court International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Trial Chamber II, The Netherlands
Case number IT-02-61-S
Decision title Sentencing Judgment
Decision date 30 March 2004
  • The Prosecutor
  • Miroslav Deronjić
Categories Crimes against humanity
Keywords crimes against humanity, persecution, guilty plea, Sentence, joint criminal enterprise, Glogova
Other countries involved
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
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Miroslav Deronjić was indicted for his role in the commission of crimes in the village of Glogova (Bosnia and Herzegovina) in May 1992. The attack resulted in the deaths of Bosnian Muslims and the destruction of their properties, homes, and religious institutions. Deronjić pleaded guilty to the charge of persecution as a crime against humanity and, subsequently, Trial Chamber II found him guilty.

In order to determine the appropriate sentence, Trial Chamber II balanced the gravity of the offence, the aggravating and mitigating circumstances.

It held that the large number of casualties, the extensively planned attack, Deronjić's abuse of his political position, and the acceptance of a false statement suggesting safety for the Muslims of Glogova were relevant aggravating factors. Trial Chamber II concluded that the relevant mitigating circumstances were Deronjić's guilty plea, his co-operation with the Prosecution and the Tribunal, his remorse, and contribution to the prevention of massacres, such as the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995, from happening again.

Based on these factors, Trial Chamber II handed down a sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

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Procedural history

The second amended indictment was filed on 29 September 2003. 

On 29 September 2003, the parties entered a Plea Agreement pursuant to the second amended indictment and a separate factual basis

During the Sentencing Hearing between 27 and 28 January 2004, the Trial Chamber entered a finding of guilt with respect to the charge of persecutions. After the sentencing hearing, Trial Chamber II identified discrepancies in the statement of Deronjić, the operative indictment and the factual basis. Accordingly, on 20 February 2004, Trial Chamber II ordered a new sentencing hearing to be held on 5 March 2004.

On 5 March 2004, the Trial Chamber found that the guilty plea fulfilled the prerequisite requirements and entered a finding of guilt on the same day for the charge of persecutions on the basis of Deronjić's substantial participation in a joint criminal enterprise.

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Related developments

Deronjić filed his notice of appeal on 28 April 2004, followed by his brief on appeal on 22 July 2004. The hearing on appeal took place on 17 June 2005. The Appeals Chamber rendered its judgment on 20 July 2005, in which it upheld the sentence awarded by Trial Chamber II. 

On 24 November 2005, Miroslav Deronjić was transferred to Sweden to serve the remainder of his sentence. 

Miroslav Deronjić died on 19 May 2007 while serving his sentence in Sweden.

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Legally relevant facts

The events giving rise to the case occurred in the village of Glogova in the Bratunac municipality of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 8 May 1992, Deronjić ordered the attack of Glogova which resulted in the deaths of Bosnian Muslim inhabitants, the destruction of their homes, properties and mosques. The attack formed part of a joint criminal enterprise which aimed to remove the Bosnian Muslim inhabitants from Glogova through the commission of crimes against them (paras. 61 et seq.).

During this period, Deronjić was, among others, the President of the Bratunac Municipal Board of the Serbian Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and President of three crisis staffs, among which the Bratunac Crisis Staff (para. 48).

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Core legal questions

  • Considering the gravity of the offence, the aggravating and mitigating circumstances, what is the appropriate sentence for Miroslav Deronjić?

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Specific legal rules and provisions

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

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Court's holding and analysis

In assessing the gravity of the offence and the aggravating circumstances, Trial Chamber II accepted that “the mere fact that the Accused held a high political rank at the time of the attack does not as such constitute an aggravating factor. In this case however, the Accused indeed abused his political power to commit the crimes he is charged with” (para. 195). In addition, Trial Chamber II also took into consideration the large number of civilians who were killed, the “meticulously planned attack on Glogova” (para. 222), the “additional torching of houses immediately after the attack” (para. 222),and the acceptance of a statement suggesting the safety of the Muslim population of Glogova prior to the attack (paras. 184 et seq.).

Turning to the mitigating circumstances, Trial Chamber II attached weight to Deronjić's guilty plea, his co-operation with the Prosecution and the Tribunal, his expression of remorse, and his contribution to the prevention of revisionism of crimes committed in Srebrenica through issuing a statement about the details of the mass execution of Bosnian Muslims in July 1995 (paras. 224 et seq.). In light of these factors, Trial Chamber II was “convinced that a substantial reduction of the sentence ... [was] warranted” (paras. 276).

Deronjić was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment.

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Instruments cited

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Additional materials