Interpol has issued a ‘red notice’ for the arrest of former Croatian Defence Council fighter Jozo Djojic, who was found guilty of committing a war crime in Odzak in 1992 but failed to turn up to serve his sentence.
An Interpol red notice, the closest mechanism to an international arrest warrant, has been issued for for Jozo Djojic after he did not turn up to start serving his six-year-sentence for raping a woman in Odzak in July 1992 during the Bosnian war.
Djojic’s lawyer Kenan Ademovic told BIRN that he had no knowledge that his client, who has both Bosnian and Croatian passports, was the subject of an Interpol wanted notice.
“This is the first I heard of it. I never spoke to him after the verdict,” said Ademovic.
The Bosnian state court appeals chamber in February 2018 sentenced Djojic, a former member of the Croatian Defence Council’s 102nd Brigade, to six years in prison.
The Bosnian justice ministry confirmed to BIRN that Croatia had been asked to take over the enforcement of Djojic’s sentence.
“We can confirm that the judiciary of Croatia had been asked by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina to take over the verdict to which Djojic was sentenced in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said the ministry.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia have signed agreements which allow for sentences passed in one country to be taken over by the neighbouring state, but in war crimes cases these procedures are often controversial.
Last year, the Croatian authorities took over the enforcement of the sentence given to former Bosnian Croat battalion commander Marko Radic, who was convicted of war crimes in Mostar region, but in doing so reduced his sentence from 21 to 12-and-a-half years in prison.
The Croatian decision caused anger among war victims’ associations, which filed a criminal complaint against the Bosnian minister, Josip Grubesa, who signed off on the request to allow Radic to serve his jail time in Croatia.
In Serbia, legal procedures to take over the enforcement of former Bosnian Serb general Novak Djukic’s 20-year sentence have continued for the past several years, while Djukic has remained free.
Djukic was convicted in 2014 in Bosnia and Herzegovina of ordering an attack that killed 71 people in the town of Tuzla in 1995.