Legally Validated Doboj Genocide is part of Bosnian Genocide
Doboj was strategically important during the Bosnian War. Before the war (in 1991), the population of Doboj consisted of 41,164 Bosniaks (Muslims), 39,820 Serbs (Orthodox), 13,264 Croats (Catholics), 5,765 Yugoslavs, and 2,536 Others.
In May 1992, the occupation of Doboj by the Serbian forces began. The Serbian Democratic Party took over the governing of the city. What followed was a mass disarming and subsequently mass arrests of all non-Serb civilians (namely Bosniaks and Croats). Many instances of war crimes and ethnic cleansing were committed by Serb forces and at least 1000 Bosniak and Croat civilians were killed in sadistic massacres perpetrated by the Serb military and paramilitary forces. By July 1992, Bosniaks and Croats virtually disappeared from the face of this town. They were persecuted, tortured, many of them fled voluntarily to find safety from Serbian terror campaign, but overwhelming majority were herded onto trains and sent to Bosanski Novi. There, Serbs separated men from women, and continued to terrorize, rape and kill Bosniak and Croat civilians.
Serb forces were implicated in the systematic looting and destruction of Bosniak and Croatian homes and villages during the Bosnian War. Women were raped and civilians tortured and killed. Widespread looting and destruction of Bosniak homes and property took place daily and the Bosnian Muslim mosques in town were destroyed. Many of the non-Serbs who were not immediately killed were detained at various locations in the town, subjected to inhumane conditions, including regular beatings, torture and strenuous forced labour. A school in Grabska and the factory used by the Bosanka company that produced jams and juices in Doboj was used as a rape camp. Four different types of soldiers were present at the rape camps including the local Serbian militia, the Yugoslav army (JNA), police forces based in the Serbian-occupied town of Knin (or “Marticevci” as their commander was Milan Martic) and members of the “White Eagles” (Beli Orlovi) paramilitary group who wore an insignia bearing three eagles and a “kokarda” on their hats. The man who oversaw the women’s detention in the school was Nikola Jorgic, a former police officer in Doboj, who has been convicted of genocide in Germany and is currently serving a life sentence.
Convicted for Bosnian Genocide
Nikola Jorgic is a Bosnian Serb from the Doboj region who was the leader of a paramilitary group located in the Doboj region. In 1997, Nikola was convicted of genocide in Germany. This was the first conviction won against participants in the Bosnian Genocide. Nikola was sentenced to four terms of life imprisonment for his involvement in genocides in Bosnia.
On 26 September 1997 Nikola Jorgic was found guilty by the Düsseldorf, Germany, Oberlandesgericht (Higher Regional Court) on 11 counts of genocide involving the murder of 30 persons. His appeal was rejected by the German Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Supreme Court) on 30 April 1999.
The Oberlandesgericht found that Jorgic, a Bosnian Serb, had been the leader of a paramilitary group in the Doboj region that had taken part in acts of terror against the local Muslim population carried out with the backing of the Serb rulers and intended to contribute to their policy of “ethnic cleansing”.
The Bundesgerichtshof ruled that under the Genocide Convention of 9 December 1948 (ratified by Germany in 1954) genocide is a crime that all nations are required to prosecute and that the lower court had been correct in asserting the jurisdiction of the German judiciary. It also confirmed the lower court’s finding that Jorgic had committed genocide. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) had previously declined to take over Jorgic’s case.
Jorgic arrested Bosniaks and put them in prison camps where they were tortured. In June 1992 he took part in the execution of 22 inhabitants of Grabska (including disabled and elderly people) who had gathered in the open in order to escape fighting. Other Bosniaks were forced to carry the dead to a mass grave. Jorgic later ordered the expulsion of all the village’s inhabitants. He was also responsible for the brutal ill-treatment of 40-50 inhabitants of Sevarlije, six of whom were shot dead and a seventh who had been wounded died when he was burned alive with the six other bodies. In September 1992 Jorgic put a tin bucket on the head of a prisoner in the Central Prison in Doboj and hit it with such force that the prisoner was killed by the blow.
From May 1969 until the beginning of 1992 Nikola Jorgic was permanently resident in Germany and he subsequently maintained his official registration in Bochum, Germany. He returned to Germany on numerous occasions after committing his crimes to visit his German wife and daughter. He was arrested at Düsseldorf airport after entering Germany of his own free will.
Other Bosnian genocide-related convictions by the German courts include that of Maksim Sokolovic, convicted on 29 November 1999, for aiding and abetting the crime of genocide and for grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, and Novislav Djajic. Djajic was indicted for participation in genocide, but the court failed to find that there was sufficient certainty for a criminal conviction that he had the intent to commit genocide. Nevertheless Djajic was found guilty of 14 cases of murder and one case of attempted murder. At Djajic appeal on 23 May 1997, the Bavarian Appeals Chamber found that acts of genocide were committed in June 1992, confined within the administrative district of Foca. On 12 July, 2007, European Court of Human Rights dismissed Nikola Jorgic’s appeal.