Former Croatian Defence Council battalion commander Mile Puljic was acquitted of crimes against humanity as prosecutors failed to prove he allowed his subordinates to use prisoners as forced labour and human shields in Mostar.
The Bosnian state court in Sarajevo on Wednesday cleared Mile Puljic, former commander of the Second Battalion of the Croatian Defence Council’s Second Brigade, of committing crimes against humanity in the Mostar area in 1993 and 1994.
Puljic was acquitted of having allowed his subordinates to take prisoners from the Heliodrom detention facility in Mostar to do forced labour on the frontlines and be used as human shields, and of permitting them to participate in forcible disappearances and the beating of detained persons.
He had been charged with involvement in a widespread and systematic attack and with having knowingly and wilfully participated, as a co-perpetrator in his capacity as commander of the Second Battalion, in a joint criminal enterprise aimed at expanding the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia, an unrecognised Croat-led wartime statelet.
The verdict can be appealed.