News 09 Feb 18

Bosnian Croat Ex-Fighters Charged over Mostar Detention Camps

Eleven former members of the Croatian Defence Council will stand trial for crimes against humanity for illegally detaining Bosniaks in inhumane conditions in Mostar in 1993 and 1994.

Albina Sorguc
BIRN
Sarajevo
The Old Bridge in Mostar. Photo: BIRN.

The Bosnian state court on Thursday confirmed the indictment charging the 11 former Croatian Defence Council members - Nedzad Coric, Jure Kordic, Drazen Lovric, Dario Susac, Nedzad Tinjak, Nuhan Sikalo, Dario Mihalj, Stanko Skobic, Tomislav Ancic, Marinko Sunjic and Slavko Golemac - with crimes against humanity.

They are accused of participating in a widespread and systematic attack from July 1993 to March 1994, during which more than 70 Bosniak civilians from the Mostar area were unlawfully arrested and taken to a detention camp in the town of Vojno, where they were held in inhumane conditions.

“By their actions, they committed or in other ways aided the commission of various forms of physical, mental and sexual violence and contributed to worsening the conditions in the detention camp that were brutal and degrading,” the indictment alleges.

The prosecution said that all the defendants were members of the First Battalion of the Second Brigade and the ‘Convicts’ Battalion’ of the Croatian Defence Council.

“Their aim was to detain, abuse and expel the Bosniak civilian population from the territory of the planned Croat state of Herzeg-Bosnia,” the indictment claims.

Herzeg-Bosnia was an unrecognised, Croat-led wartime statelet in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Croatian Defence Council, the HVO, was its armed force.

According to the charges against the 11 suspects, hundreds of Bosniak men were taken from another detention camp, Heliodrom, which was located in Rocno, south of Mostar, and made to do forced labour.

Meanwhile civilians were unlawfully detained in the Vojno detention camp, where they were held in degrading and inhumane conditions, in a garage and basement of a house, exposed to physical and mental abuse, the indictment claims.

The prosecution alleges that, the defendants knowingly participated in a joint criminal enterprise together with several other HVO fighters - Marko Radic, Dragan Sunjic, Damir Brekalo, Mirko Vracevic and others.

In 2011, the Bosnian court sentenced Radic to 21 years in prison, Sunjic to 16 years, Brekalo to 20 years and Vracevic to 12 years for committing crimes against Bosniaks at the Vojno camp, including murder, rape, torture and other inhumane acts.

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