Prosecutor v. Kunarac (Trial Judgment)

IT-96-23-T & IT-96-23/1-T
Download Judgment: English
Region: Europe
Year: 2001
Court: International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
Health Topics: Prisons, Violence
Tags: Abuse, Armed conflict, Cruel treatment, Degrading treatment, Detainee, Detention, Execution, Humiliating treatment, Inhuman treatment, Prison conditions, Rape, Sexual violence, Torture, Violence against women

K, RK and V are Bosnian Serbs who were involved in a Serb campaign against Bosnian Muslims in the area of Foca between April 1992 until at least February 1993. One purpose of the campaign was to cleanse the Foca area of Muslims. In addition to the Muslim armed forces, a target to the campaign was Muslim civilians, particularly Muslim women. The general method used was expulsion through terror. The terror was carried out in multiple ways, including the violent destruction of Muslim religious symbols. Civilian Muslim men and women were rounded up in the villages surrounding Foca and the men and women were separated. Many men were forced to spend long periods of detention in prison and were mistreated. Some men were killed on the spot, some even in front of their families. The women and children were taken to collection points and then detained at various places, including a high school and a sports hall. Many of the women were raped, often multiple times and sometimes in front of many people.

K, RK and V were charged with violations of the law or customs of war and with crimes against humanity – rape, torture, enslavements and outrages upon personal dignity.

[Adapted from INTERIGHTS summary, with permission]

The Trial Chamber held:

  1. rapes were used by members of the Bosnian Serbs armed forces as a weapon of terror;
  2. rape was an instrument that they could use at any time whenever and against whomever they wish;
  3. the Serb forces had set up and maintained a detention centre next to the municipal police building from which girls were taken away on a regular basis to other locations to be raped;
  4. authorities who were meant to protect the victims, such as local police, turned a blind eye and even helped guard the women and on occasion joined in their maltreatment;
  5. they were guilty of torture, as a crime against humanity, under Article 5 of the Statute of the ICTY, and as a violation of the laws or customs of war, under Art 3 of the Statute and recognised by Common Article 3(1)(a) of the 1949 Geneva Conventions;
  6. they were guilty of rape, as a crime against humanity, under Art 5(g) of the Statute and as a violation of the laws or customs of war, under Art 3 of the Statute; and
  7. two of the defendants (K and RK) were guilty of enslavement as a crime against humanity, under Art 5(c) of the Statute.

[Adapted from INTERIGHTS summary, with permission]

The appellate version of this page can be found here.