The Failure of Judicial Systems during Armed Conflicts

  • Alexis Demirdjian
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Genocide book series (PSHG)


On 3 June 1992, in the third month of the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a group of 30 men of Serb ethnic background stormed the Northern Bosnian town of Teslić which was under Bosnian Serb control. This paramilitary group nicknamed the Miće Group3 managed to arrest hundreds of Bosnian Muslim and Croat civilians in less than three weeks, detained them in inhumane conditions, and repeatedly beat them, some succumbing to the beatings. On 30 June 1992, 16 members of the Miće were arrested when Serb authorities learned that they were persecuting Serb citizens, their ‘own people’. It was only then that Serb authorities acted and investigations began shortly thereafter.4 However, both the military and civilian police leadership quickly lodged protests with the prosecutor’s office, requesting the Miće’s release. The men were released one by one under threats and pressure and, by early August, they had reintegrated into their respective units. Meanwhile, thousands of Muslims and Croats had fled Teslić. This once multi-ethnic community had turned into a mono-ethnic municipality, crippled by terror and criminality. The ICTY deals mainly with leadership cases and six separate trials have addressed these atrocities in Teslić. The actual perpetrators, the members of the Miće Group, were arrested only in November 2014.


Police Officer International Criminal Judicial System Public Prosecutor Trial Chamber 


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Copyright information

© Alexis Demirdjian 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexis Demirdjian
    • 1
  1. 1.International Criminal CourtNetherlands

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