Hazim Delić

Hazim Delić (born 13 May 1964)[1] was the Bosniak Deputy Commander of the Čelebići prison camp, a Konjic defence forces run prison camp.[2] He was sentenced to 18 years by the ICTY Appeals Chamber on 8 April 2003 for murder and torture of the prisoners and for raping two Serbian women.[3][4]

The majority of the prisoners (around hundred) who were detained were men, captured during and after the military operations at Bradina and Donje Selo and their surrounding areas.

Background

During the Bosnian War, Konjic municipality was of strategic importance as it contained important communication links from Sarajevo to southern Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the siege of Sarajevo the route through Konjic was of vital importance to the Bosnian government forces. Furthermore, several important military facilities were contained in Konjic, including the Igman arms and ammunition factory, the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) Ljuta barracks, the Reserve Command Site of the JNA, the Zlatar communications and telecommunications centre, and the Celebici barracks and warehouses. Although the Konjic municipality did not have a majority Serb population and did not form part of the declared "Serb autonomous regions", in March 1992, the self-styled "Serb Konjic Municipality" adopted a decision on the Serbian territories. The Serb Democratic Party (SDS), in co-operation with the JNA, had also been active in arming the Serb population of the municipality and in training paramilitary units and militias. According to Dr. Andrew James Gow, an expert witness for the Prosecution, the SDS distributed around 400 weapons to Serbs in the area. Konjic was also included in those areas claimed by the HDZ in Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia, despite the fact that the Croats did not constitute a majority of the population there either. Thus, there were HVO units established and armed in the municipality by April 1992.[5]

Following the international recognition of the independent Bosnian state and the walk-out of SDS representatives from the Municipal Assembly a War Assembly was formed to take charge of the defence of the municipality. Between 20 April and early May 1992 Bosnian government forces seized control over most of the strategic assets of the Municipality and some armaments. However, Serb forces controlled the main access points to the municipality, effectively cutting it off from outside supply. Bosniak refugees began to arrive from outlying areas of the municipality expelled by Serbs, while Serb inhabitants of the town left for Serb-controlled villages according to the decision made by Serb leadership.[6]

On 4 May 1992, the first shells landed in Konjic town, fired by the JNA and other Serb forces from the slopes of Borasnica and Kisera. This shelling, which continued daily for over three years, until the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement, inflicted substantial damage and resulted in the loss of many lives as well as rendering conditions for the surviving population even more unbearable. With the town swollen from the influx of refugees, there was a great shortage of accommodation as well as food and other basic necessities. Charitable organisations attempted to supply the local people with enough food but all systems of production foundered or were destroyed. It was not until August or September of that year that convoys from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) managed to reach the town, and all communications links were cut off with the rest of the State. A clear priority for the Konjic authorities was the de-blocking of the routes to Sarajevo and Mostar. This objective required that the Serbian forces holding Bradina and Donje Selo, as well as those at Borci and other strategic points, be disarmed. This objective required that the Serbian forces holding Bradina and Donje Selo, as well as those at Borci and other strategic points, be disarmed. Initially, an attempt was made at negotiation with the SDS and other representatives of the Serb people in Bradina and Donje Selo. This did not, however, achieve success for the Konjic authorities and plans were made for the launching of military operations by the Joint Command.[6]

The first area to be targeted was the village of Donje Selo. On 20 May 1992 forces of the Territorial Defence (TO) and Croatian Defence Forces (HVO) entered the village. Bosnian government soldiers moved through Viniste towards the villages of Cerići and Bjelovcina. Cerići, which was the first shelled, was attacked around 22 May and some of its inhabitants surrendered. The village of Bjelovcina was also attacked around that time. According to witnesses heard by the ICTY, the Serb-populated village of Bradina was shelled in the late afternoon and evening of 25 May and then soldiers in both camouflage and black uniforms appeared, firing their weapons and setting fire to buildings. Many of the population sought to flee and some withdrew to the centre of the village. These people were, nonetheless, arrested at various times around 27 and 28 May, by TO, HVO and MUP soldiers and police.[7]

Trial and conviction

Detainees at the camp were subjected to torture, sexual assaults, beatings and otherwise cruel and inhuman treatment. Certain prisoners were shot and killed or beaten to death.[8][9] In his position as Deputy Commandant and subsequently Commandant of the Čelebići camp, he was thus responsible for its overall administration. He also exercised hierarchical superiority over all of the camp guards as well as over those who were authorised to enter the camp and abuse the detainees. According to the indictment, he knew, or had reason to know, that those in a subordinate rank to him were abusing prisoners and that he failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures to ensure that these acts were not committed or to punish any offenders after the commission of such acts. He was also responsible for the inhumane living conditions imposed on the prisoners (deprivation of food and water, of medical care, of sleeping facilities and proper sanitation). Hazim Delić was accused not only of allowing these acts to be committed, but also of having himself actively participated in them.

Hazim Delić was arrested by the authorities of Bosnia-Herzegovina on May 2, 1996. He was transferred to the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) on 13 June 1996. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison on 16 November 1998, and the sentence was reduced to 18 years by the Appeals Chamber on 8 April 2003. He was granted early release 24 June 2008.

References

External links

  • Trial watch
  • Hazim Delic and Esad Landzo transferred to Finland to serve their prison sentences, ICTY Press release, 10 July 2003

See also

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