Bosnian Croat leaders convicted of crimes against Muslims

The Hague Tribunal has sentenced former Bosnian Croat leader Jadranko Prlić to 25 years in prison for crimes against Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1993-1994.

Source: Beta
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Another five accused were also found guilty and sentenced to jail sentences ranging from ten to 20 years.

Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti said that they were found guilty of participation in a joint criminal enterprise with the objective to remove the Muslim population from the territories on which the Bosnian Croat leadership with the leadership of Croatia wanted to establish Croat domination, mostly within the borders of the Croatian Banovina in 1939.

The ultimate purpose of the joint criminal enterprise was to create the Croat entity, the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia, in order to unify the Croatian people in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Later these areas were to be either joined with the Republic of Croatia, or remain in close association with it.

The Hague Tribunal determined that apart from the six accused, then Croat President Franjo Tuđman also participated in the joint criminal enterprise and that they had help of Croatian Defense Council (HVO), Bosnian Croats’ armed forces and the Croatian Army.

According to the ruling, the Croatian authorities “had a complete control over the Croat Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia authorities“.

Years before the crimes were committed, Tuđman and Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia President Mate Boban agreed that it was “necessary to change the population’s structure” in certain parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s territory.

The Hague Tribunal determined that aside from the accused and Tuđman, Croatian Defense Minister Gojko Šušak, Croatian Army Chief of the General Staff Janko Bobetko joined, participated in and contributed to the joint criminal enterprise and coordinated the operations on the ground to carry out the crimes.

The accused “significantly contributed” to the achievement of the joint criminal enterprise’s goal.

Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia Defense Minister Bruno Stojić, Croatian Defense Council Main Staff Head Slobodan Praljak and Croatian Defense Council Main Staff Deputy Commander Milivoj Petković were sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Chief of the Military Police Administration Valentin Ćorić was sentenced to 16 years in prison while President of the Croatian Defense Council commission in charge of the exchange of prisoners and other persons and Head of the Croatian Defense Council Commission in charge of detention facilities Berislav Pušić was sentenced to ten years in prison.

They were found guilty of crimes against Muslims in eight municipalities in western Herzegovina and eastern Bosnia from spring 1993 until spring 1994. The crimes included killings, rape, deportation, inhumane treatment, illegal detention, destruction and seizure of property, reckless destruction of towns and cultural and religious monuments, forced labor and terror against civilians.

The crimes against humanity, violation of laws and customs of war and gross violation of the Geneva Convention were committed in Mostar, Prozor, Gornji Vakuf, Jablanica, Ljubuški, Stolac, Čapljina and Vareš.

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