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Verdict against Six Herceg-Bosna Leaders on May 29

15. April 2013.00:00
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, is due to pronounce a verdict against Jadranko Prlic, Bruno Stojnic, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoje Petkovic, Valentin Coric and Berislav Pusic, who are charged with crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on May 29.

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The six former senior leaders of the then Herceg-Bosna are charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murders, rape, sexual abuse, destruction of property, deportation of Bosniaks and others in the period from 1992 to 1994. The Hague Prosecution charges them with conducting a joint criminal enterprise aimed at persecuting and ethnically cleansing Bosniaks and others from the territory of newly established Herceg – Bosna, which they wanted to attach to “the Greater Croatia”. According to the charges, the crimes were committed in Prozor, Gornji Vakuf, Jablanica, Mostar, Ljubuski, Stolac, Capljina and Vares municipalities.The six indictees performed political and military functions within Herceg-Bosna in the period from 1992 to 1994. The indictment alleges that Prlic was Prime Minister of the Herceg-Bosna Croatian Community, Stojic was Chief of the Defence Section with the Croatian Defence Council, HVO, while Praljak simultaneously performed the function of a senior officer of the Croatian Army, HV, Assistant Minister of Defence and Senior Representative of the Croatian Ministry of Defence with the Government and HVO armed forces, and, later on, Commander of the Main Headquarters. The indictment further alleges that Praljak played a prominent role in supplying the HVO with arms and ammunition and commanded the Army and its operations conducted in Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the charges, Petkovic was Chief of the Main Headquarters of HVO and, later the Deputy Supreme Commander of the HVO, while Coric was Chief of the Military Police Directorate. The Hague Prosecution charges Pusic in his capacity as former Chief of the Section for the Exchange of Prisoners and Other Persons and President of the Commission tasked with all prisons and detention facilities of HVO. The indictment alleges that the six indictees are responsible for an attack on towns, villages and hamlets, where Bosniaks were the majority, and systematic shelling and sniping activities targeting civilians. The Hague Prosecution alleges that detention facilities were established and that Bosniaks, including women, children and the elderly, were held in them in terrible conditions, while being deprived of food, water and medical care. According to the charges, many detainees were forced to perform hard labour or gather corpses during dangerous combat situations.

The indictment against these six indictees was confirmed in April 2004, when they surrendered to the Hague Tribunal. The trial began in April 2006. The presentation of closing statements was completed at the beginning of March 2011.

Erna Mačkić

This post is also available in: Bosnian