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ICTY: Ivica Rajic’s Early Release Request Rejected

2. February 2011.00:00
The President of the Hague Tribunal has rejected the proposal for the early release of Ivica Rajic, a former member of the Croatian Defence Council, HVO, who was sentenced for crimes committed in the Vares area.

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Rajic asked the Hague Tribunal to release him early in accordance with the law of Spain, where he is serving his sentence.Racic, the former Commander of the Second Operational Group of the HVO with the Central Bosnia Operational Zone, was sentenced to 12 years in prison in May 2006 after having admitted guilt for crimes committed in Stupni do village, near Vares.

Patrick Robinson, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, in the Hague, rejected the request, saying that Rajic has still not served two-thirds of his sentence and the crimes for which he was sentenced were “of an extremely grave nature”.

“Although Mr. Rajic has shown limited signs of rehabilitation and offered support to the Prosecution, in line with his guilt admission agreement, some important factors that go against his early release to liberty are still valid – like the gravity of the crimes for which he admitted guilt and the relatively short time he has spent in prison,” Robinson said in his decision.

Ivica Rajic admitted guilt for having commanded the attack on Stupni Do village, near Vares, in October 1993, which resulted in the murder of at least 37 Bosniaks, including women, children and the elderly.

The verdict says that Rajic also commanded the forces which attacked and pillaged Vares, detained about 250 Bosniaks, physically abused their families and other local residents and sexually abused women in that town.

The original indictment against Rajic was filed in August 1995. He surrendered to the ICTY in June 2003.

In his guilt admission in 2005, Rajic apologised to the victims’ families.

“I feel sorry for all victims in Stupni Do and Vares. Those victims were not necessary. I convey my apologies and most sincere condolences to the victims’ families for the pain they are suffering.”My words are sincere and come from my heart. I understand their pain, because the war brought such pain to my family as well,” Rajic said at the time. He was transferred to Spain to serve his sentence in April 2007.D.Dz.

This post is also available in: Bosnian