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Nikola Jorgic is a Bosnian Serb from the Doboj region who was the leader of a paramilitary group located in the Doboj region.[1] 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.[2]

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,[3] 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.[4] 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.[5] On 12 July, 2007, European Court of Human Rights dismissed Nikola Jorgic's appeal.[6][7]


Further reading


  1. ^ Federal High Court of Germany: Translation of Press Release into English Nr. 39 on 30 April 1999: Federal High Court makes basic ruling on genocide, Prevent Genocide International]
  2. ^
  3. ^ Maksim Sokolovic, TRIAL (Track Impunity Always)
  4. ^ Novislav Djajic, TRIAL (Track Impunity Always)
  5. ^ Prosecutor v. Radislav Krstic - Trial Chamber I - Judgment - IT-98-33 (2001) ICTY8 (2 August 2001), The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, paragraph 589. citing Bavarian Appeals Court, Novislav Djajic case, 23 May 1997, 3 St 20/96, section VI, p. 24 of the English translation.
  6. ^ European Court of Human Rights - Jorgic v. Germany Judgment, July 12 2007.
  7. ^ Europe's human rights court upholds life term for Bosnian Serb convicted of genocide - AP, July 12, 2007.


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