Zdravko Tolimir

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Zdravko Tolimir
Здравко Толимир
Tolimir zdravko.jpg
Born (1948-11-27) 27 November 1948 (age 66)
Glamoč, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, Yugoslavia
Allegiance  Republika Srpska
Service/branch Army of Republika Srpska (VRS)
Battles/wars Bosnian War

Zdravko Tolimir (Serbian Cyrillic: Здравко Толимир; born 27 November 1948) is a Bosnian Serb military commander. Tolimir was a commander of the Army of Republika Srpska during the Bosnian War. He was Assistant Commander of Intelligence and Security for the Bosnian Serb army and reported directly to the commander, General Ratko Mladić.

Early life[edit]

Tolimir was born in Glamoč, Yugoslavia.

Bosnian War[edit]

According to the ICTY indictment, Tolimir was aware of the program aimed at expelling Bosniaks from Srebrenica and Zepa, and he willingly participated in the project. On 9 July 1995, when President Radovan Karadžić passed down an order to seize Srebrenica, the order was passed directly through Tolimir.[citation needed] In Zepa, Tolimir was alleged to have told the Bosniaks that they or the Serbs of Bosnia would launch a military operation. The Bosniaks refused to leave and, early on the morning of 14 July 1995, the Bosnian Serbs launched an attack against the Zepa enclave as said to have been commanded by him.[citation needed]

On 21 July 1995, Tolimir sent a report to General Radomir Miletic, acting Chief of General Staff of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS), requesting help to crush some Bosnian military strongholds and expressing his view that "the best way to do it would be to use chemical weapons". In the same report, Tolimir went even further, proposing chemical strikes against refugee columns of women, children and elderly leaving Zepa, because that would "force the Muslim fighters to surrender quickly", in his opinion.[1]

Arrest and trial[edit]

On 31 May 2007, Tolimir was detained by the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina after having been on the run for two years.[2] Tolimir had negotiated with the Serbian government concerning his surrender to The Hague tribunal. He was handed to NATO personnel at the Banja Luka Airport on 31 May 2007, after being apprehended in Serbia.[3]

Zdravko Tolimir in court on 26 February 2010 (Photograph provided courtesy of the ICTY)

An ICTY representative formally read him the ICTY indictment while still at Banja Luka, and then NATO forces formally arrested him and took him to the NATO base in Sarajevo. NATO forces brought him to Rotterdam on 1 June 2007, and turned over custody of him to The Tribunal, which brought him to The Hague the same day. He was charged with crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes for his involvement in the Srebrenica genocide and the murder of Bosniak prisoners temporarily held the Bratunac and Zvornik regions after the Srebrenica win by Serb forces. The indictment alleges Tolimir supervised the VRS detachment which executed more than 1,700 men and boys at the Branjevo Military Farm and the Pilica Cultural Centre.[4]

On 5 October 2007, the registry of the ICTY announced their assessment of Tolimir's health as "grave, fragile and highly alarming", and that Tolimir was refusing blood pressure treatment for an inoperable brain aneurysm. He had previously stated that he planned to represent himself during the trial.[2]

On 12 December 2012, Tolimir was convicted of six out of eight counts; genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, extermination, murder, persecution on ethnic grounds and forced transfer. The chamber sentenced him to life imprisonment.[5] On 8 April 2015, the ICTY confirmed his life sentence.[6]


  1. ^ "Tolimir requested Chemical Weapons to be used in Zepa". SENSE Tribunbal. 2007-08-22. Archived from the original on 8 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  2. ^ a b "Registrar at UN war crimes tribunal sounds alarm over health of genocide suspect". UN News Service. 5 October 2007. Retrieved 6 October 2007. 
  3. ^ Key war crimes fugitive arrested on Serbia-Bosnia border, iht.com; accessed 13 April 2015.
  4. ^ Profile, icty.org; accessed 13 April 2015.
  5. ^ "Bosnian Serb Zdravko Tolimir convicted over Srebrenica". BBC News. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  6. ^ avaz.ba. "Zdravko Tolimir - Life imprisonment". avaz.ba. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 

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