|(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official
The Hague, 6
At 18:30 hours on Sunday 5 March, Milan Babic,
a detained witness, was found dead in his cell at the United Nations
Detention Unit in Scheveningen.
The Detention Unit Medical Officer confirmed
Milan Babic’s death shortly after his body was found.
The Dutch authorities were called immediately. After conducting
an investigation, they confirmed that the cause of death was suicide.
Milan Babic’s family has been informed.
Pursuant to his authority under the Tribunal’s
Statute and Rules of Detention, the Tribunal President, Judge Fausto
Pocar, has ordered an internal inquiry.
The Tribunal sentenced Milan Babic to 13
years imprisonment for crimes committed against non-Serb civilians
in the self-proclaimed Serb political entity in eastern Croatia
(the Serbian Autonomous Region of Krajina, which later became the
Republic of Serbian Krajina).
After the Appeals Chamber confirmed Milan Babic’s
sentence, he was transferred to serve his sentence abroad.
Milan Babic, who held a number of high-level
political positions in the Croatian Serb entity including the presidency,
pleaded guilty on 27 January 2004 to participating in a plan to
forcibly and permanently remove the non-Serb population from this
area. The crimes he admitted to include murder, deportation or
forcible transfer, and unlawful imprisonment of non-Serb civilians,
as well as the destruction of their property.
At the time of his death, Milan Babic was
testifying in the case against Milan Martic, another former
high-level official of the Croatian Serb political entity charged
with crimes against non-Serb civilians. Milan Babic began
his testimony on 15 February 2006. He had previously testified
in the case against Slobodan Miloševic from 18 November
until 9 December 2002.