The United Nations tribunal set up to deal with the worst crimes committed during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s today stayed its decision earlier this week to grant provisional release to five former senior Bosnian Croat figures who are currently on trial.
The appeals chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague stayed the release order issued by the trial chamber on Tuesday after prosecutors filed leave to appeal, voicing concern that the men could be flight risks.
Jadranko Prlić, Bruno Stojić, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petković and Valentin Corić – all on trial in what is known as the ‘Prlić and others’ case – had been granted conditional release for varying periods of time until the scheduled beginning of the defence case on 5 May.
But the five accused will now remain in the custody of the ICTY’s detention until the appeals chamber issues its ruling on the merits of the prosecution appeal into Tuesday’s order. Their other co-accused, Berislav Pušic, was not involved in the order for temporary release.
The accused, former high-level leaders in the Bosnian Croat wartime entity known as Herceg-Bosna, stand accused of war crimes committed in 1992 and 1993 against Bosnian Muslims and other non-Croats in south-western and central Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially the municipalities of Prozor, Gornji Vakuf, Jablanica, Mostar, Ljubuški, Stolac, Capljina and Vareš.
The many charges include murder, rape, unlawful deportation, imprisonment, cruel treatment, unlawful labour, the wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, and persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds.