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Bringing justice to victims of international crimes

Djuradj Kusljic

Sentenced to life imprisonment on 21 February 2001; allegedly released on 11 July 2006
Former police commander of Vrbnica

On 15 December 1999, only two weeks after the sentence against Maksim Sokolovic, the Bavarian Higher Regional Court sentenced Kusljic to life in prison for genocide in conjunction with six counts of murder and illegal possession of a firearm. As the charge of genocide concerned acts committed abroad, the court declared the case within its jurisdiction on the basis of Art. 6, para. 1(1) of the German Penal Code. It added that this competence was in no way restricted by the law of nations, and that the link with Germany was demonstrated by the fact that the accused entered Germany voluntarily in 1993 and subsequently established his permanent residence and married a German woman there.

By having executed Muslims, taken part in deportations and given the order to deport members of this ethnic and religious group (and then having detained them in inhuman conditions), the accused put this group in a situation likely to result in its physical destruction in whole or in part. Thus, given especially his political and military position and his intentions, he committed the crime of genocide according to Art. 220a, para. 1(1 & 3). The court recalled that these acts, i.e. the executions and deportations, constitute the methods of a unitary crime

The execution of six Muslims, which was already taken into account in the charge of genocide, also represented six counts of murder. The illegal possession of a semi-automatic weapon was a violation of the law on weapons (Art. 28, para. 1) and therefore a further offence.

Djuradj Kusljic was sentenced him to life imprisonment.

He filed an appeal against this sentence with the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), contesting the competence of the court on the basis of an infringement of his procedural and substantive rights.

On 21 February 2001, the BGH rejected the appeal (decision 3 StR 244/00), except that it decided that the sentence should be changed to one count of murder, since the six murders constituted one corpus delicti. The sentence of life imprisonment was upheld.

According to certain sources, Kusljic was released on 11 July 2006, without having served his entire sentence. He was allegedly handed over to authorities from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Trial Watch would like to remind its users that any person charged by national or international authorities is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Fact sheet

2013 Germany 01.06.1992  - 31.08.1992 15.12.1999  - 21.02.2001

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