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Former Bosnian Croat leaders refused temporary leave by UN war crimes tribunal

Former Bosnian Croat leaders refused temporary leave by UN war crimes tribunal

The United Nations tribunal set up to deal with the worst war crimes committed during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s today overturned last month’s decision 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), which is based in The Hague, reversed the release order issued by the Tribunal’s trial chamber, having already stayed the earlier ruling because of concerns that the men could be flight risks.

Jadranko Prlic, Bruno Stojic, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petkovic and Valentin Coric – jointly on trial in what is known as the ‘Prlic 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 detention facility. The other co-accused, Berislav Pušic, was not involved in the order for temporary release.

The appeals chamber found that the “various justifications for release offered by the accused are not sufficiently compelling.”

The men, 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.