Dragoljub Kunarac

Dragoljub KUNARAC

Dragoljub Kunarac, a Bosnian Serb tried for war crimes, pleaded guilty to rape in 1998. It was the first time the war crimes court treated sexual offences as a crime against humanity.

BACKGROUND ON THE INDICTMENT

Dragoljub KUNARAC is one of the eight individuals named in the first indictment, issued in June 1996, dealing with sexual offences. This significant indictment (“Foca indictment”) covers the brutal regime of gang-rape, torture and enslavement which Muslim women of Foca and elsewhere were subjected to between April 1992 and February 1993 by Bosnian Serb soldiers, policemen and members of paramilitary groups, including some coming from Serbia and Montenegro.

According to the indictment, the municipality of Foca was taken over by the Bosnian Serb Army, assisted by paramilitaries units, between April and July 1992. The soldiers separated men and women.

The former were mostly detained in the Foca Kazneno-Popravni Dom (KP Dom ), one of the largest prison facilities in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The KP Dom is one of several detention facilities mentioned in the indictment issued on 25 July 1995 against Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic.

Muslim women, children and elderly persons were detained in houses, apartments and motels in the town of Foca or surrounding villages, and in short and long-term detention centres, such as Buk Bijela, Foca High School and Partizan Sports Hall. Additionally, several women were held in houses and apartments, which were run in the manner of brothels, by groups of mainly paramilitary soldiers.

Many of the detained women, some as young as 12 years of age, endured inhumane conditions of detention and were subjected to “humiliating and degrading conditions of life, to brutal beatings and to sexual assaults, including rapes . . .Ó.

THE VICTIMS

The indictment charges crimes committed against at least 14 victims, referred to in the indictment by code names and by initials.

These and other women were subjected to almost constant rape and sexual assaults; torture; and other abuses. According to the indictment: “The physical and psychological health of many female detainees seriously deteriorated as a result of these sexual assaults. Some of the women endured complete exhaustion, vaginal discharges, bladder problems and irregular menstrual bleedings. The detainees lived in constant fear. Some of the sexually abused women became suicidal. Others became indifferent as to what would happen to them and suffered from depression . . . .“

“Many women suffered permanent gynaecological harm due to the sexual assaults. All the women who were sexually assaulted suffered psychological and emotional harm; some remain traumatised.”

BACKGROUND ON THE ACCUSED AND THE CHARGES AGAINST HIM

The accused

Dragoljub KUNARAC a/k/a “Zaga” and “Dragan”, son of Aleksa, was born on 15 May 1960 in Foca. He lived in Tivat, Montenegro prior to the April 1992 attack on Foca. Dragoljub Kunara} was the commander of a special volunteer unit of non-local irregular Serb soldiers mainly from Montenegro. He had his headquarters in a house in the Alad`a neighbourhood in Foca at Ulica Osmana iki}a no. 16. There, he stayed with at least ten Montenegrin soldiers after the take-over of Foca.

It is alleged that in his capacity as commander of these soldiers, Dragoljub KUNARAC was responsible for the acts of soldiers subordinate to him and knew or had reason to know that his subordinates sexually assaulted Muslim women at his headquarters. It is also alleged that he was personally involved in sexual assaults of women at his headquarters.

News Report.