The article Hague Tribunal Exonerates Slobodan Milošević for Bosnia War Crimes Ten Years Too Late claims:

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague has determined that the late Serbian president Slobodan Milošević was not responsible for war crimes committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

In a stunning ruling, the trial chamber that convicted former Bosnian-Serb president Radovan Karadžić of war crimes and sentenced him to 40 years in prison, unanimously concluded that Slobodan Milošević was not part of a “joint criminal enterprise” to victimize Muslims and Croats during the Bosnian war.

Is Slobodan Milošević exonerated?

  • From page 1303 (PDF page 1328) of the Karadžić judgement, footnote 11027 reports Milošević and other Serbian leaders openly criticised Bosnian Serb leaders of committing “crimes against humanity” and “ethnic cleansing” and the war for their own purposes.. judgement has 20834 (!) footnotes in total…
    – gerrit
    Aug 3, 2016 at 14:56

1 Answer 1


According to Wikipedia:

Exoneration occurs when the conviction for a crime is reversed, either through demonstration of innocence, a flaw in the conviction, or otherwise.

Milošević was never convicted, because he died before the trial was concluded. That means he certainly wasn't exonerated in the literal sense.

Rather, the Karadžić judgement states on page 1303:

With regard to the evidence presented in this case in relation to Slobodan Milošević and his membership in the JCE [Joint Criminal Enterprise], the Chamber recalls that he shared and endorsed the political objective of the Accused and the Bosnian Serb leadership to preserve Yugoslavia and to prevent the separation or independence of BiH and co-operated closely with the Accused during this time. The Chamber also recalls that Milošević provided assistance in the form of personnel, provisions, and arms to the Bosnian Serbs during the conflict.11026 However, based on the evidence before the Chamber regarding the diverging interests that emerged between the Bosnian Serb and Serbian leaderships during the conflict and in particular, Milošević’s repeated criticism and disapproval of the policies and decisions made by the Accused and the Bosnian Serb leadership,11027 the Chamber is not satisfied that there was sufficient evidence presented in this case to find that Slobodan Milošević agreed with the common plan.

And in footnote 11027 on the same page:

The Chamber notes that the relationship between Milošević and the Accused had deteriorated beginning in 1992; by 1994, they no longer agreed on a course of action to be taken. Furthermore, beginning as early as March 1992, there was apparent discord between the Accused and Milošević in meetings with international representatives, during which Milošević and other Serbian leaders openly criticised Bosnian Serb leaders of committing “crimes against humanity” and “ethnic cleansing” and the war for their own purposes.

So it appears that the chamber states there is not sufficient evidence that Milošević agreed with Karadžić plans in Bosnia. However, it also states that Milošević at the same time provided assistance to the Bosnian Serbs. Therefore, other claims in the linked article, such as that Milošević was trying to stop those war crimes, are not supported by the provided evidence from the Karadžić judgement.

  • I was preparing an answer that was similar in substance, but was also going to use excerpts from Milošević's indictment here. According to my reading of the quoted source in the linked article, Radovan Karadžić was charged with acting in concert with 4 different joint criminal enterprises, and Milošević's involvement with those specific JCEs is what the Chamber questioned his involvement in. That does not have any bearing on whether Milošević acted in accordance with others. Aug 3, 2016 at 15:13
  • @JeffLambert I appreciate more context would add substance to the answer, but I fear that it would become a legal quagmire for me to compare statements sourced to an indictment against Milošević with statements sourced to a judgement against Karadžić, so I prefer to keep it reasonably narrow. Feel free to add a second answer, of course.
    – gerrit
    Aug 3, 2016 at 15:16

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