News 07 Feb 13

Macedonian Hague Convict Seeks Early Release

Former police commander Johan Tarculovski, the only Macedonian national convicted for war crimes by the Hague Tribunal, is appealing for early release after completing eight of his 12-year sentence.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Johan Tarculovski

Tarculovski’s lawyer, Antonio Apostolski, said the German prison where Tarculovksi is serving a 12 year sentence had proceeded his appeal for early release to the German authorities who will submit it to the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, ICTY.

“We think Tarculovksi’s appeal will be accepted and he will be granted early release, lowering his sentence from 12 to eight years,” Apostolski said on Wednesday.

Tarculovski has already served eight of his 12 years. In March, after serving two-thirds of his sentence, he will be formally eligible to appeal for early release. His defence hopes that he may be home by May.

In July 2008, the ICTY convicted Tarculovski of committing war crimes during the ethnic conflict in Macedonia in 2001.

He was found guilty of leading a police unit that killed ethnic Albanian villagers and committed other atrocities in Ljuboten, near Skopje.

The court acquitted Tarculovski’s chief, the former Macedonian Police Minister, Ljube Boskovski, who was charged with command responsibility.

In 2001, Macedonia saw an armed conflict between the security forces and ethnic Albanian rebels. Hostilities ended with the signing of a peace deal that year that granted greater rights to ethnic Albanians who make up about a quarter of the population.

Hopes of Tarculovksi’s early release were rekindled last autumn following the acquittals of Kosovo’s Ramush Haradinaj and two former Croatian generals, Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac.

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