A Bosnian Croat military commander convicted by a United Nations war crimes tribunal for his role in the torture and persecutions of Muslims living in the Mostar area of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Balkan wars of the 1990s will serve the remainder of his 20-year sentence in Italy.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which sits in The Hague, announced today that Mladen Naletilić was transferred yesterday to detention in Italy.
Also known as Tuta, Mr. Naletilić founded and commanded the convicts’ battalion, a military unit within the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) that operated in the area around the city of Mostar in 1993-94.
Mr. Naletilić was convicted in 2003 of persecutions, unlawful labour, torture, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, the unlawful transfer of civilians, wanton destruction and plunder. His co-accused, Vinko Martinović, was also convicted and sentenced to 18 years’ jail.
During the trial the ICTY heard how Mr. Naletilić was personally involved in forcibly removing about 400 Bosnian Muslims from Sovići and Doljani villages and then ordering that all their homes be burned to the ground. He also used prisoners of war to perform forced labour in the vicinity of his villa.
The trial chamber found that Mr. Naletilić repeatedly caused great suffering to Muslims held at the Heliodrom detention centre, in Doljani and at the Tobacco Institute in Mostar.
Italy is one of 15 European countries that have signed an agreement with the ICTY to enforce sentences imposed by the Tribunal on convicted individuals.