Momčilo Perišić in court (Photograph provided courtesy of the ICTY)
22 May 1944 |
|Allegiance||SFR Yugoslavia (to 1992)
FR Yugoslavia (to 1998)
|Service/branch||Yugoslav People's Army (to 1992)
Yugoslav Army (to 1998)
|Years of service||1966-1998|
|Battles/wars||Croatian War of Independence
Momčilo Perišić (born 22 May 1944) is a Serbian former general who was Chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army until 1998. On 6 September 2011, Perišić was found guilty for war crimes and crimes against humanity and was sentenced to 27 years of imprisonment. However, on 28 February 2013, the Appeal Chamber acquitted him of all charges.
He joined the Yugoslav People's Army and graduated from the military academy in 1966. When the conflict in the former Yugoslavia began, Momčilo Perišić was the commander of the Artillery School Centre in Zadar. He participated in the shelling of the city before leaving Croatia - as a consequence, he was sentenced in absence by a Croatian court to 20 years in prison for shelling Zadar, but Serbia never went on to arrest him. In January 1992, he was appointed commander of the newly established 13th Corps in the Bileca region. In June 1992, Momčilo Perišić was appointed Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander of the Yugoslav 3rd Army based in Niš. He became its Commander in April 1993.
Trial at the Hague
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) indicted him in February 2005, in one of the last indictments of that Tribunal. According to the indictment, he was "exercising his authority, pursuant to the policies and limitations set by the Supreme Defence Council, to provide substantial military assistance to the Armies of Republika Srpska and Republic of Serbian Krajina, which he knew was used, in significant part, in the commission of the crimes". He surrendered in May that same year to face the charges.
He was indicted for murder, inhumane acts, persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, extermination, attacks on civilians for failing to stop his subordinates of committing the siege of Sarajevo, Zagreb rocket attack and Srebrenica massacre.
The trial ended in March 2011. The prosecutor alleged that crimes were committed by the VJ soldiers who had been transferred to the VRS and the SVK through the 30th and 40th Personnel Centers of the VJ General Staff. Perišić’s command position, his ability to issue and implement orders, to discipline those who committed crimes and to promote and discharge soldiers showed that he had effective control, the prosecutor argued. He sought life in prison for Perišić, while the defense argued that he should be acquitted of all charges.
On 6 September 2011 the court in The Hague ruled that Perišić will go to jail for 27 years. The judges, however, ruled that Perišić did not have effective control over Ratko Mladić and the VRS, but that he did have control over the SVK and failed to punish the responsible for shelling Zagreb. However, on 28 February 2013, the Appeal Chamber acquitted him of all charges because judges concluded that the military help the Yugoslav army provided to Serbs from Bosnia and Croatia was directed to support their general war efforts, not war crimes.
- Yugoslav army chief sentenced to 27 years in prison 6 September 2011
- Associated Press (6 September 2011). "War crimes tribunal jails former Yugoslav army chief for 27 years". The Hague: Guardian. Retrieved 7 September 2011.
- "The Danube on Ice". AIM. November 30, 2001. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
- "The Prosecutor of the Tribunal against Momcilo Perisic - Indictment". ICTY. 22 February 2005. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
- Simons, Marlise (May 15, 2005). "Court on Crimes in Former Yugoslavia Hits Its Stride". New York Times. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
- "Momcilo Perisic - Case Information Sheet". ICTY. 22 February 2005. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
- "Prosecutor seeks life for General Perisic". Sense Agency. 29 March 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
- "Momcilo Perisic: Yugoslav army chief conviction overturned". BBC. February 28, 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
as Chief of the General Staff of Yugoslav People's Army
|Chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army
26 August 1993 - 26 November 1998