Zdravko Tolimir, a close wartime aide to the former Bosnian Serb army chief, Ratko Mladic, has been found guilty of the Srebenica genocide and sentenced to life imprisonment.Tolimir, now 64, was in charge for intelligence and security for the Army of Republika Srpska during the Bosnian war.
He was one of seven deputy commanders to the Bosnian Serb army chief, Ratko Mladic, whose ICTY trial is on-going.
The Trial Chamber of the Hague Tribunal has found Tolimir guilty of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, extermination, murder, persecutions and inhumane acts, without reasonable doubt, sentencing him to life imprisonment.
“The accused had knowledge and was aware of the genocidal intent of the Bosnian Serb leadership and was responsible for genocide,” the presiding judge, Christopher Flugge, said.
“The crimes committed were massive by scale and devastating,” Judge Flugge noted, adding that the “Crime of deportation was not proved without reasonable doubt”.
The Trial Chamber found that Tolimir was a member of the Joint Criminal Enterprise with an aim to permanently remove Bosnian Muslim population from the Srebrenica enclave.
In July 1995, the town of Srebrenica was shelled and occupied by the Army of Republic of Srpska, despite being declared a protected area by the United Nations. Following the occupation more than 7,000 Bosniak men and boys were killed.
The presiding judge said that Tolimir was “the right hand man of the Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic and sometimes knew more than Mladic himself”.
After the signing of the Dayton peace agreement in 1995, which ended the war in Bosnia, Tolimir was an adviser to Biljana Plavsic, the former president of Republika Srpska, who was also sentenced by the ICTY for war crimes in Bosnia.
On 31 May 2007, Tolimir was detained by the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina after having been on the run for two years.
The ICTY indictment against him was issued in February 2005 for his involvement in the Srebrenica genocide and the murder of Bosniak prisoners temporarily held the Bratunac and Zvornik regions after the fall of Srebrenica.
Tolimir supervised the detachment of the Bosnian Serb army which executed over 1,700 men and boys at the Branjevo Military Farm and the Pilica Cultural Centre.
Besides Tolimir, those accused by the ICTY of the Srebrenica genocide include Radislav Krstic, Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic, Vujadin Popovic, Ljubisa Beara, Drago Nikolic, Ljubomir Borovcanin, Milan Gvero, Radivoje Miletic and Vinko Pandurevic.