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ICTY: Darko Mrdja Denied Early Release

23. February 2011.00:00
Patrick Robinson, president of the Hague Tribunal, rejects a proposal by Darko Mrdja for early release.

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Mrdja, a former member of the Interventions Squad with the Public Safety Station in Prijedor, was sentenced by the Hague Tribunal to 17 years in prison for having participated in the shooting of about 200 civilians at Koricanske stijene in August 1992.

He asked the Court to release him to liberty after having served nine years of the sentence.

Mrdja is serving his sentence in Spain, whose laws allow early release.

The president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, in the Hague rejected Mrdja’s proposal, saying that, “according to the Tribunal’s practice, a convict may be released to liberty after having served two-thirds of his sentence”. Mrdja will have served two-thirds of his sentence in October 2013.

“I consider that, although Mrdja has demonstrated certain evidence of his rehabilitation, the significant factors that go against his early release to liberty still exist. The gravity of the crimes he committed is very big.

“I do not think that the time he has spent in jail goes in favour of his release to liberty. Also, I have concerns related to his mental condition and the possible consequences of his release,” the ICTY president said in his decision.

The indictment against Mrdja was filed in April 2002. In July 2003 the indictee admitted guilt for the murder of civilians at Koricanske stijene. Mrdja was sent to prison to serve his sentence in May 2004.

Robinson said that according to a report submitted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Spain, Mrdja behaves like “an educated, polite and diligent person” in the prison. It mentions that in 2010 Mrdja had certain problems with another prisoner and a minor disciplinary measure was pronounced against him.

As stated in the decision, Mrdja cooperated “with the Hague Prosecution to a significant extent in determining the truth about the events that took place in Prijedor during the war”.

“I think that Mrdja’s cooperation speaks in favour of his early release to liberty, although the fact that he undertook to cooperate with the Prosecution under the guilt admission agreement reduces the significance of that factor to a certain extent. I therefore consider that his early release to liberty should not be approved,” Robinson said.

Three former members of the Interventions Squad with the Public Safety Station have admitted guilt before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina for crimes committed at Koricanske stijene. Damir Ivankovic was sentenced to 14, Gordan Djuric to eight and Ljubisa Cetic to 13 years in prison.


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This post is also available in: Bosnian