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The Prosecutor v. Duško Sikirica, Damir Došen, and Dragan Kolundžija

Court International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Trial Chamber, The Netherlands
Case number IT-95-8-S
Decision title Sentencing Judgement
Decision date 13 November 2001
  • The Prosecutor
  • Duško Sikirica
  • Damir Došen
  • Dragan Kolundžija
Categories Crimes against humanity
Keywords aggravating and mitigating circumstances, crimes against humanity, guilty plea, Keraterm camp, Persecutions, Prijedor, Sentence
Other countries involved
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
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The case against Duško Sikirica, Damir Došen and Dragan Kolundžija concerned the crimes committed against the Bosnian Muslim, Bosnian Croat and other non-Serb detainees of the Keraterm camp in the outskirts of the town of Prijedor (Bosnia and Herzegovina). The detainees were subjected to inhumane living conditions, beatings, and mistreatments. In the summer of 1992, Sikirica was the Commander of Security of the camp, Došen, and Kolundžija were both shift leaders. Sikirica, Došen and Kolundžija pleaded guilty to persecution as a crime against humanity, and the Trial Chamber found them guilty accordingly.

In order to determine the appropriate sentences, the Trial Chamber balanced several sentencing factors. The Trial Chamber considered that the positions of Sikirica, Došen and Kolundžija were of a limited authority and subsequently, it only attached a limited amount of aggravation to them. Sikirica’s failure of his duty to prevent outsiders from mistreating the detainees was considered a further aggravating factor.

Among the mitigating circumstances, the Trial Chamber took into consideration Sikirica, Došen and Kolundžija’s guilty pleas and expressions of remorse. Došen’s assistance to, and Kolundžija’s favourable treatment of some detainees were additional mitigating factors.

The Trial Chamber sentenced Sikirica to 15 years, Došen to 5 years, and Kolundžija to 3 years of imprisonment.

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Procedural history

The second amended indictment was filed on 3 January 2001.

On 31 August 2001, Dragan Kolundžija and the Prosecution filed a joint submission of an agreement reached between them concerning a guilty plea to the count of persecution. On 4 September 2001, the Trial Chamber entered a finding of guilt.

On 7 September 2001, similar joint submissions were filed regarding an agreement made by Sikirica and Došen with the Prosecution. On 19 September 2001, Sikirica and Došen pleaded guilty to the crime of persecution. The Trial Chamber accepted the pleas, and subsequently, entered findings of guilt.

See ICTY, 'Dusko Sikirica and Damir Dosen Enter Guilty Pleas', ICTY Press Release, 19 September 2001; and ICTY, 'Prosecutor v. Duško Sikirica, Damir Došen, and Dragan Kolundžija, Case No. IT-95-8-S, Motion Hearing (Open Session), 19 September 2001.

On 28 September 2001, the Prosecution filed its written submission on sentencing, while the Defences filed their submissions on 3 and 4 October 2001. 

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Related developments

On 10 May 2002, Sikirica and Došen were transferred to Austria to serve their sentences. On 21 June 2010, Sikirica was granted early release, followed by Došen on 28 February 2003. See ICTY, 'Dusko Sikirica and Damir Dosen Transferred to Austria to Serve Prison Sentence', ICTY Press Release, 10 May 2002, available at:  (last accessed 14 September 2012). 

Kolundžija was granted early release on 5 December 2001. 

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Legally relevant facts

The events giving rise to the case have occurred in the Keraterm factory in the outskirts of the town of Prijedor (Bosnia and Herzegovina) in the summer of 1992. During this period, the Keraterm factory functioned as a detention camp where Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Croats and other non-Serbs were detained (para. 50 et seq.). 

The detainees at the Keraterm camp were subjected to inhumane conditions during their confinement, including insufficient food and water, lack of hygienic arrangements, inadequate medical treatment, overcrowded facilities, beatings and other mistreatments (para. 62 et seq.). 

Duško Sikirica was the Commander of Security at the Keraterm camp between June and July 1992 (para. 118). Damir Došen was a shift leader of approximately 6 to 12 men at the Keraterm camp between June and August 1992 (para. 153). Dragan Kolundžija was first a guard at the camp, but later he was promoted to a shift leader as well, a function which he held between June and July 1992 (para. 200).

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Core legal questions

  • Considering the gravity of the offences, the aggravating and mitigating factors, what are the appropriate sentences for Duško Sikirica, Damir Došen and Dragan Kolundžija?

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Specific legal rules and provisions

  • Articles 20(3) and 24 of the ICTY Statute.
  • Rules 62bis and 101 of the ICTY Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

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Court's holding and analysis

The Trial Chamber considered that Sikirica‘s “failure in his duty to prevent outsiders from coming into the camp to mistreat the detainees [was] an aggravating factor” (para. 139) together with his position of authority within the camp (para. 140). Sikirica’s guilty plea and expression of remorse were considered as mitigating factors (para. 148-152). 

The Trial Chamber held that Došen’s “position as shift leader [was] an aggravating factor in relation to this crime.  He was in a position of trust which he abused:  he permitted the persecution of, and condoned violence towards, the very people he should have been protecting. However, the amount of aggravation must be limited in light of the limited nature of his authority” (para. 172). Došen’s guilty plea, his remorse, and his assistance to some detainees were considered as mitigating circumstances (para. 192-199). 

“By continuing as a shift leader … [Kolundžija] was abusing his position of trust.  This amounts to an aggravating factor in his case, albeit limited in line with his authority” (para. 210). The Trial Chamber also took into account Kolundžija’s guilty plea and favourable treatment of the detainees as mitigating factors (paras. 227-230). 

The Trial Chamber sentenced Sikirica to 15 years (para. 235), Došen to 5 years (para. 239), and Kolundžija to 3 years of imprisonment (para. 243).

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Further analysis

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Instruments cited

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Additional materials