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Dragan Obrenovic

Sentenced
Sentenced to 17 years imprisonment by the First Trial Chamber of the ICTY
Lieutenant-Colonel in the VRS

Dragan Obrenovic was born on 12 April 1963 in the village of Rogatica, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Dragan Obrenovic completed his studies at the military academy and became an officer in the JNA (Army of the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia) On 1 December 1992, he joined the ranks of the VRS (Bosnian Serb Forces) where, from the very beginning, he held the functions of Chief of the Armed Forces and Second in Command of the Zvornik brigade, based in Zvornik in eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina. In July 1995, Obrenovic held the grade of Chief of Battalion of the VRS. From 8 August 1995 till 15 September 1995, Dragan Obrenovic held the position of Interim Commander of the Zvornik brigade. He remained Chief of Staff of this brigade until 30 April 1996.
In both positions as Second-in-Command and Interim Commander of the Zvornik brigade, Obrenovic was responsible for all of the prisoners captured, imprisoned or killed in the zone controlled by the Zvornik brigade and also those captured in the zone controlled by the Bratunac brigade and killed later in the Zvornik brigade zone.

Notably, it was under Obrenovic’s orders that the forced transfer of woman and children from the Srebrenica enclave to Kladanj took place on July 12 and 13, 1995, and from 12 to 19 July approximately, that he ordered the capture, detention, execution by firing squad, burial and reburial of the bodies of Bosnian Muslim men and boys, aged between 16 and 60, from the Srebrenica enclave. The original plan provided for the summary execution of more than 1000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys who had been separated from the overall group of Bosnian Muslims in Potocari on 12 and 13 July. On 12 July a decision was made not to stop at this but to proceed with the summary execution of more than 6000 men and boys taken from the formation of Bosnian Muslim men fleeing from the Srebrenica enclave between the 12 and 19 July approximately. The greater part of this group was captured on 13 July 1995 on the road between Bratunac and Milici.

In his role as Chief of Staff, Dragan Obrenovic was in charge of the planning, control, supervision, organisation and execution of the overall operation.

On 14 and 15 July 1995, members of the VRS and/or of the MUP (Interior Ministry) struck, beat, and otherwise physically aggressed and then killed, with automatic firearms , around 1000 Bosnian Muslim men held prisoner in the Petkovci school. In his position as Second-in-Command of the Zvornik brigade, Dragan Obrenovic had the responsibility for the control , command and coordination with respect to the detention of these prisoners at the Petkovci school.

Around 15 July1995, members of the VRS, operating under the orders of Dragan Obrenovic, transported the survivors of a group numbering approximately 1000 Bosnian Muslim men from the school in Petkovci to a zone situated just downstream from the dam close to Petkovci. Soldiers from the VRS or the MUP formed them into a group at this location and then summarily executed them with automatic firearms .

On 14 and 15 July 1995, or close to these two dates, members of the VRS and/or the MUP transported around 1200 Bosnian Muslim men from the detention centres in Bratunac to the school in Pilica. On 14 and 15 July, or close to these dates, military personnel from the VRS summarily executed with automatic firearms a great number of Bosnian Muslim men who had just arrived or were being held in this school. On 17 July 1995, VRS army personnel from the “R” battalion of the Zvornik brigade, under the command of Dragan Obrenovic, carried away the dead bodies from the school in Pilica. These were buried in a mass grave at an army farm in Branjevo together with other corpses in particular those from the Pilica cultural centre.

On 16 July 1995, or before this date, soldiers from the VRS and/or from the MUP, transported around 500 Bosnian Muslim men to an isolated spot close to Kozluk, in a zone under the responsibility of the Zvornik brigade, where they were summarily executed with automatic firearms . Prior to this, they had either been separated from the formation of men fleeing the Srebrenica enclave or separated from the other group in Potocari. On the same day, soldiers acting under Dragan Obrenovic buried these victims in a mass grave in the vicinity.

Between 19 and 22 July 1995, armed personnel from the VRS and/or the MUP, under orders from Dragan Obrenovic, captured some fifteen Bosnian Muslim men who were amongst the group fleeing from Srebrenica and executed them.

Between 1 August 1995 and 1 November 1995, approximately, soldiers under orders from Obrenovic took part in a large scale, organised operation, the aim of which was to cover up the murders and executions committed in the zone under the responsibility of the brigades from Zvornik and Bratunac. The bodies were exhumed from their original graves at the army farm in Branjevo, and also from Kozluk, from the dam close to Petkovci, from Orahovac and from Glogova, to be transferred to new mass graves.

On 15 April 2001, Dragan Obrenovic was arrested by the SFOR (International Stability Force), and transferred on the same day to the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia).

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

16.04.1963 Norway 11.07.1995  - 01.11.1995 14.05.2003  - 10.12.2003
Crimes against humanity
12.07.2012
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