Hague Rejects Croatia Role in Bosnian Croats’ Trial

5. July 2017.15:19
The UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague has turned down Croatia’s request to be allowed to participate in the trial of six former Bosnian Croat officials from the Herzeg-Bosna wartime statelet.

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The UN court on Wednesday rejected Zagreb’s request to have the status of ‘friend of the court’ in the case against former Bosnian Croat officials Jadranko Prlic, Bruno Stojic, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoje Petkovic, Valentin Coric and Berislav Pusic.

The Croatian authorities had argued the prosecution’s allegations that former Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, former Defence Minister Gojko Susak and Croatian Army general Janko Bobetko were participants in a joint criminal enterprise in Bosnia and Herzegovina represented “new facts”.

Because of that, they asked the Tribunal to allow them to address the appeals chamber prior to the pronouncement of the final verdict in the trial of the six defendants.

The tribunal last year rejected Croatia’s first request for the status of ‘friend of the court’ in the case against the six men.

Hague Tribunal president Carmel Agius said on Wednesday in the court’s ruling on Croatia’s second request that “reconsideration [of the initial decision] is not necessary in order to prevent an injustice”.

Agius also noted that “Croatia does not allege that there was a clear error of reasoning” in the rejection of the first request.

Prlic, Stojic, Praljak, Petkovic, Coric and Pusic were initially sentenced in 2013 to a total of 111 years for committing crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1994.

They were convicted of participating in a joint criminal enterprise aimed at persecuting and ethnically cleansing Bosniaks from the unrecognised Bosnian Croat wartime statelet of Herzeg-Bosna, which they wanted to attach to a ‘greater Croatia’.

Under the verdict, Prlic was sentenced to 25 years in prison, Stojic, Praljak and Petkovic got 20 years each, Coric was sentenced to 16 years and Pusic to ten years.

In March this year, both defence and prosecution presented their appeals against the verdict.

The second-instance verdict is expected by the end of this year.

Denis Džidić

This post is also available in: Bosnian (Bosnian)