Dragan Jokic, sentenced for crimes committed in Srebrenica in 1995, should be released from prison in Austria by mid February, while seven former high ranking military and police officers await their verdict for crimes committed in the Bosnian Serb enclave.
The decision to release Jokic was made by the International War Crimes Tribuna for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY, president Patrick Robinson on Wednesday.
Jokic was sentenced to nine years of imprisonment in May 2007 and in December next year transferred to the Austrian prison. He surrendered himself in 2001.
According to the verdict, Jokic was Chief of the Corps of Engineers, Zvornik Brigade, during the massacre of men and boys in Srebrenica, July 1995. Furthermore, from the morning of 14 July until that of 15 July 1995, Dragan Jokic was the officer on duty in the Zvornik Brigade.
Srebrenica was occupied on 11 July. In the next seven days more than 7,000 men and boys were systematically killed in different locations in and around the city.
Jokic was sentenced for having participated in the planning, supervision, organisation and finally the burials of civilians who were killed.
He was also convicted to four months imprisonment for contempt of the Tribunal in March 2009, after refusing to testify in a trial against Popovic and others.
At the same time, Vujadin Popovic, who is accused together with Ljubisa Beara, Drago Nikolic, Ljubomir Borovcanin, Radivoje Miletic, Milan Gvero, Vinko Pandurevic, all former high ranking military and police officers, for genocide in Srebrenica, are waiting to hear their verdict after their trial ended in Septembr 2009.
In his decision, Judge Robinson noted that Jokic is convinced of serious crimes, including crimes against humanity and a violation of the laws or customs of war, but that he conducted himself well while in prison prompting Austrian authorities to recomended his early release.
Judge Robinson made this decision even though some of the judges disagreed. The prosecution disagreed, too, noting that Jokic has not cooperated with them “in any meaningful way”.
“I am of a view that Jokic’s behaviour while serving his sentence is indeed evidence of his rehabilitation,” wrote Judge Robinson in his decision.
Jokic was indicted together with Vidoje Blagojevic who is sentenced to 15 years and is serving his prison sentence in Norway.