Herceg-Bosna: Non-Malignancy In Defending Croatian Life

Herceg-Bosna Six – From left: Jadranko Prlic, Milivoj Petkovic, Bruno Stojic, Slobodan Praljak, Berislav Pusic, Valentin Coric
Photo: AFP

The former commander of the Bosnian Serb army, Ratko Mladic, dubbed the Butcher of Bosnia, has last week at the ICTY been found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, participating in joint criminal enterprise and sentenced to life in prison.

This coming week an important verdict from the ICTY Appeal Chamber awaits six Croatian men (Jadranko Prlić, Bruno Stojić, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petković, Valentin Ćorić and Berislav Pušić) in relation to war crimes charges pertaining to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The spin and mantra concocted by anti-Croatian political lobby that Croatians engaged in a joint criminal enterprise in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990’s, with view to creating a Greater Croatia/i.e. that Herceg-Bosna territory should become part of Croatia, made it to the ICTY war crimes charge sheet against these Croats. Should one concentrate upon facts as evidence, transcripts of tape-recorded conversations from the Security Council of the Republic of Croatia during the period 1992–95, for example, one would come across the justified and widespread fear that Croats would become dominated in an independent Bosnia and Herzegovina (by Serbs and Muslims/Bosniaks) but that Croatian leadership in early 1992 expressed strongly the idea that entertaining the idea of any part of Bosnia and Herzegovina becoming joined with Croatia was not the path Croatia would pursue with its military assistance, but defending Croats from attacks would be a matter of necessity, especially given the relatively much smaller number of Croats there as opposed to Serb and Bosniak population. Fears of political domination over Croats and Bosniaks came from Serb onslaught first, then subsequently this fear transformed into security concerns in the second half on 1992 due to the increasing tensions stemming from the escalation of Bosniak pursuits to take over control of areas where Croat majority lived. The presence of imported foreign Mujahedin forces (from Middle East and surrounds) fighting alongside Bosniaks added further weight to the Croatian fear for bare survival.

Back to Mladic case, the distressing reality is that Mladic got most of what he, the Serbs and Serbia wanted: a Bosnian Serb statelet (Republika Srpska/Serbian Republic) from which almost every Croat. Bosniak and other non-Serb was cleansed and banished or murdered. He is adored, his portrait adorns bars and office walls in Bosnia and Serbia, his name sung at football matches…the denial and lack of remorse for the criminal enterprise continues.

Mladic faced two counts of genocide: one for Srebrenica, the other for what happened in the “municipalities” elsewhere in Bosnia. He faced no charges for his heinous crimes in Croatia, which were as gruesome as the ones in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Croatia as in Bosnia and Herzegovina serial atrocities were committed, while the international community remained indecisive, and worse – tolerating and even attempting to justify on some trumped-up historical ethnic hatreds the utter depravity of Serb aggression. In that, victims – dehumanised!

The whole idea of the Hague tribunal was as much an act of contrition for that failure as it was ambition for international justice. Mladic’s pogroms included more mass-murder, torture, mutilation and rape, in the camps at Omarska, Trnopolje and Keretem in northwest Bosnia. To the east, in Visegrad, civilians – including babies – were herded alive into houses for incineration, or down to a bridge to be shot, or chopped into pieces, and hurled into the river Drina. Then there was the wholesale demolition of countless towns and villages, and the ‘cleansing’ of all non-Serbs, by death or deportation; the razing of mosques and Catholic churches; the gathering of women and girls into camps for violation all night, every night. And the rest,” Ed Vulliamy (a prosecution witness at Mladic trial, one of the first western journalists to discover Serb concentration camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina), The Guardian.

The Hague ICTY’s (International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia), being wound down and replaced with Mechanisms for Criminal Tribunals (MICT), task was always to be judicial, but also to “promote reconciliation” in the Former Yugoslavia territories. There is no reconciliation and the Judges at ICTY have hopefully recognised that fact. There is no reconciliation!

The so-called “joint criminal enterprise” had, in political efforts demonising Croats, spilled into the courtrooms with an overriding political view of equating the victim with the aggressor and with the stark and blatant lack of attempting to fully address the Bosniak/Muslim onslaught against Croats within Bosnia and Herzegovina, the future looks most grim for all should the ICTY confirm a verdict of joint criminal enterprise against the Croatian six this coming week.

While justice is done and seen to have been done via Mladic verdict as relating to the Serb aggression, Serb joint criminal enterprise, and its consequences, a verdict of similar weight in the case of Herceg-Bosna Six would neither be justice nor would justice be seen to have been done.

The United Nations human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, called the verdict against Mladic “a momentous victory for justice” and declared that “Mladic is the epitome of evil.”

The problem here is that Mladic did not act alone – the whole of Serb-aggression was the epitome of evil that had to be stopped for humanity’s sake. So, let’s not lose that picture!

Regardless of the verdict that we all feel as part of the campaign against Serbs, Ratko Mladic remains a legend of the Serb nation,” said Milorad Dodik, the president of the Serb statelet in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was carved out and retained via ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs.

Before the start of Serb aggression in Bosnia and Herzegovina there were more than 760,000 Croats (17.4% of the country’s total population) living there and today there are barely 450,000. The loss of Croatian population in Bosnia and Herzegovina far exceeds that of the Serbs and Bosniaks (Muslims) and it unequivocally points to not only the many murdered and banished but also to a still-existing oppression of Croats with view to annihilating them as a constitutional ethnic group with equal rights as Serbs and Bosniaks in that country.

While Serbs ethnically cleansed Croats from the so-called Serb statelet “Serbian Republic” within Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croats, faced with Serb aggression and subsequent the added Muslim or Bosniak onslaught against them, managed to hold on and preserve their lives, where they made up more than half of the population, in towns that were at the time defended with the help of HVO (Croatian Defence Council) and include: Grude, Posušje, Široki Brijeg, Čitluk, Dobretići, Domaljevac, Ljubuški, Kupres, Tomislavgrad, Livno, Usora, Neum, Orašje, Kreševo, Prozor-Rama, Odžak, Žepče, Čapljina, Kiseljak i Mostar.

In an interview in the German magazine Der Spiegel in January 1995, President Franjo Tudjman of Croatia said: “The Muslims wanted to reign over the whole of Mostar then gain ground to the sea, and finally create an Islamic state. That is what our Croats are defending themselves against.”

Should injustice from the ICTY Trial Chamber be cemented when it comes to joint criminal enterprise waged against the six Croats in the Hague on 29 November 2017 then, besides injustice and conviction on false and twisted evidentiary grounds, it is as clear as day that both Serbs and Muslims (Bosniaks) will get what they wanted out of Bosnia and Herzegovina from day one: to control parts of the country’s territory and oust the Croats; to ensure Croats become marginalised and eventually disappear.

The active plan to banish Croats from any significant roll in the life of Bosnia and Heregovina did not end with brutal attacks against them during the war from both the Serb and Bosniak side, but it continued with its implementation even after the 1995 Dayton Agreement (which blessed a continued life to the Serbian Republic within the country), after the war. In 2000, for example, a good part of the International community instigated electoral reforms that would give Bosniaks within the Bosniak-Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina the power to rule and “call the shots” over Croats; similar moves were previously put in motion for Serbs within the Serbian Republic in that country. The resulting developments saw and see the increasing loss of equality of Croats within Bosnia and Herzegovina and the increasing numbers of Croats leaving the country under the pressure of oppression and inequality in that constitutionally triethnic state.

Contrary to any interpretations vying to paint Croatia and Croats as aggressors within Bosnia and Herzegovina the fact is that the Croatian leadership never took the decision to attack, but to defend. The full-scale war between the Bosniaks and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina did not break out until the Mujahedins abducted Živko Totić and killed four soldiers in his entourage, the Croat head of the HVO Military Police in Zenica, on 15 April 1993, even if drive-by shootings and threats did occur with great intensity prior to that date.

The fact is that Croats’ war efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina followed no joint criminal enterprise but were, indeed, efforts of non-malignant intent and defensive posture regardless of whether they fought to save themselves from Serbs or Bosniaks.

While the ICTY Prosecutor is seeking increased sentences for the Herce-Bosna Six from the Appeals Chamber, the defence seeks acquittal of all charges, or a retrial. The acquittal or retrial are sought on basis of wrong conclusions by the ICTY Trial Chamber regarding the existence of a joint criminal enterprise and the participation in the same by the Herceg-Bosna Six. Acquittal is surely the only just outcome. Ina Vukic

In Defence Of Croatian Community Of Herceg Bosna

dr. sc. Mato Arlovic

The ICTY Trial Chamber 2013 conviction of the “Croatian Six from Herceg Bosna” (currently awaiting Appeal Chamber decision) has motivated dr. Mato Arlovic (a Judge at the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia) to awaken his research in constitutional law within the expertise written for the purposes of defence before he had become a Constitutional judge. Hence, arrived the book “Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna and the (re)organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina”. It is an important book because it negates the famous joint criminal enterprise supposedly led by the Croatian state and army heads – writes Marinko Jurasic of Vecernji List, as foreword to his interview with Arlovic.

Your book significantly defends dr, Franjo Tudjman’s and HDZ’s politics towards Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

– I must correct you. I am not defending Tudjman’s and HDZ’s politics, I am defending the truth. I speak of facts, of proof, of arguments and decisions that confirm that all the Acts passed and all the actions that followed go in favour of independence and sovereignty of BiH. I am bothered when the truth is negated … The aim of my book is not that anyone indicted of war crimes be acquitted or his guilt lessened. No, the aim of my book is in that noone is punished for something he did not do, to prevent a new injustice. Not only because it would constitute an injustice towards one nation of people but that injustice would also become the cause of new divisions and conflicts in this region. I advocate for those who are found to have committed crimes to be convicted for that is the first step towards reconciliation and a satisfaction for those who suffer.

Did the Republic of Croatia have a right to defend itself?

– I think that the rejection of Croatia’s application to present its arguments as a Friend of the court that it did not participate in joint criminal enterprise had deeply violated the principle of fairness as well as of approach to the court, and the highest of Croatian bodies are the ones who must express their standing on that. It’s not only that Croatia did not participate in it, but had it not done what it had there would be no independent and sovereign state of BiH today. In that situation it would be a grave injustice and untruth to condemn Croatia as an aggressor and a divider of BiH.

While a joint criminal enterprise did not exist in Croatia, the same Croatian leadership was creating a greater Croatia in BiH!?

– In the indictment against the generals, the state and army leadership is accused of joining together for the purpose of ethnically cleansing the Serbs from Croatia, while in the indictment against the Herceg-Bosna Six they are connected to a criminal enterprise for dividing BiH and the creating of Croatian Banovina, that actually encompasses a much larger area than the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna. At the end of that indictment it actually says that it also concerns “all other known and unknown persons”, which opens the possibility that all Croats in BiH and in Croatia had joined intoa criminal enterprise, which of course cannot be the truth. All the more because such a form of crime is not regulated by any Act but had appeared in the Hague Prosecution’s practice. If the Trial Chamber judgment were to become final it would open up some serious questions. It would follow that Croatia was an aggressor against BiH, led its war through ethnic cleansing and that it is responsible for the destructions in BiH. And that question of justice. How can a country that had itself been attacked from outside and from its rebel Serbs inside, in the situation when it’s helping its neighbouring country and in defending itself, be pronounced an aggressor against that neighbouring country from whose territory the aggression against itself was launched!? One wouldn’t know what’s harder – the question of political responsibility or the legal responsibility. The Croats in Croatia and in BiH would once again carry the stigma of being guilty for the 90’s war, as it was after WWII.

But, president Tudjman led talks about dividing BiH?

I don’t negate that, but I was appalled by the rushed and unfounded assumptions Rebicic came out with in his book “Geneza jedne zablude” (The genesis of a delusion). He writes that in Karadjordjevo, Milosevic offered Tudjman a division of BiH, and in an other place it’s written written that in a telephone call he warned Alija Izetbegovic that together with dr. Tudjman in Karadjordjevo Milosevic proposed division of BiH at the expense of the Bosniaks. Then, that Tudjman and HDZ leadership considered all non-Croats as citizens of a second order, which is one of the worst accusations that, in essence, equates with nazisocialism. I was politically active then and not negating the extreme right-wing elements, I can say that it is a complete untruth that the whole of the State politics was like that. Ribicic’s expertise is founded upon the testimonies of public dignitaries from Croatia who came out with their pereptions without evidence that any decision by any State body was made, and everything comes out from saying that there were talks of dividing BiH. And that is “fait accompli”, BiH will be divided and Greater Croatia put together.

The key proof of that is the conversation in Franjo Tudjman’s presidential office, HDZ leadership in Croatia and in BiH on 27th December 1991.

It’s true that there was talk there about solving the crisis in BiH and a possible division of BiH. It’s true that some participants seriously objected to that because the Croats in BiH would lose the possibility of being equal and constitutional nation, that is, they would become a minority in BiH. But even those talks, as all other talks, wee led during the times of war and, therefore, I’m amazed at those who without any reservation state that the politics of dividing BiH were led. Of course, the actors in those talks held their fingers crossed in their pockets and were not sincere in the measure by which their assertions could be taken as truthful. In Tudjman’s case the decisions confirmed that.

There was political bluffing, insinuation, exaggeration…?

In military terminology that’s one of the forms of a special war. If that talk was crucial, how come it occurred a month and a half after the Croatian Community Herceg Bosna was founded. Ribicic writes that the talk was led at the time when Slovenia and Croatia had already been recognised internationally, which is not true. Only some countries, that were not themselves internationally recognised, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, had recognised Croatia and that in itself had a morally-political and not an international significance. The decision regarding a change of borders can only be made by the Croatian parliament, and nobody refers to its Acts. That is, even in the Constitutional decision regarding sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Croatia and in the 25th June 1991 Declaration, as well as in the Decision regarding the severing of all ties with the Former Yugoslavia on 8th October 1991, it is clear and unambiguous that the right to independence is recognised for all other republics of the former Yugoslavia. And what’s occurring after the talk about the division of BiH. At the invitation by the Carrington Commission on former Yugoslavia the Croatian parliament passes an agreement that all states of formerly joined states and the USSR, if they implement the right procedure, should be internationally recognised. Then, dr. Tudjman as HDZ RH president, together with HDZ BiH and the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna leadership, calls upon Croats in BiH to come out at the 29th February 1992 referendum together with the Bosniaks and to vote for an inependent and sovereign BiH. That referendum would not succeeded with the Croats because the Serbs boycotted it, and there were not enough Bosniaks to make up the needed majority.

And they’re being accused of intending to create a Greater Croatia all that time?

– That’s right. It’s important to see that at that time there were three political concepts for BiH. Bosniaks wanted unitary BiH. Serbs wanted a confederative BiH if a link with Yugoslavia remained, and if not, then theseparation of Serbian Republic and belonging to Yugoslavia. Croats were for a sovereign and independent BiH of three equal and constitutional nations while BiH exists, and voted at the referendum for that which they had written down and in the decision to form the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna. And after it was decided on an international level to recognise BiH, the first country that did that on 7th April 1992 was Croatia. All that time Croatia supplied BiH with medical, humanitarian and military assistance. Individual uits were made up of Bosniak members of the Croatian Army (HV), who were organised, equipped and trained in Croatia for the battles in BiH against the Serb aggressor that had by that time already occupied 70% of BiH territory. The most complex training of Bosniak officers, and MIG pilots, was carried out in Croatia. Here, some 700,000 displaced persons were cared for, medical help given to more than 3,500 wounded at Firule (Split) … Does a country that wants to divide the other country and take over its territory do that!?

All the while a third of Croatia was occupied.

– Those who had come out with the postulation about Croatian division of BIH are unaware that with that they had perhaps supported the most cunning postulation of Greater Serbia politics, demonstrated via a special war, because acceptance of a division of BiH would open up a process of dividing Croatia. Radovan Karadzic was the first to use that postulation at1990 elections in order toconvince Alija Izetbegovic that he would try and trick him by such means. It was crazy to expect that via the Croatian Community Of Herceg Bosna the intention was to annexe that part to Croatia for the purposes of creating a Greater Croatia, and that the same criteria would not be used in Croatia where the self-proclaimed “Republic of Serbian Krajina” commenced the process of joining the territory to Yugoslavia and Serbian Republic within BiH. One can think about dr. Tudjman as one likes but he knew how to think in military and geopolitical terms for Croatia’s interests and, simply, everyone should forget about such postulations. That postulation is a total miss, even if the talk of possible division of BiH did damage the public perception. But later, Alija Izetbegovic himself offered a division of BiH to Tudjman because he wanted his own state.

You claim that the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna was a necessary form or self-organisation?

– According to the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of BiH the right to defence was a duty of every citizen, and municipal councils had an important role. Citizens living in them had a duty to self-organise themselves in defending freedom, territory and the sovereignty of their republic if the central authorities cannot function. When Serb attacks started Prime Minister Jure Pelivan said at the Assembly of BiH that the government was not controlling the situation, and Izetbegovic said “that is not our war”. And then, in 24 municipalities, arising from the right of necessary self-organisation the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna was organised as a community of municipalities. The Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna did not arise within a procedure that’s characteristic of an act that would have a constitutionally legal force but rather it was much closer to statutory decisions made by units of local self-government. The decision was signed by presidents of the municipal councils who were elected to those positions at democratic elections. A referendum was not carried out. The decision calls upon the Constitution of BiH. In it, it’s written that it is of a temporary nature while the situation lasts in BiH and that the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna is being formed- what is very important – on the territory of BiH. “The area” belongs to the units of local self-government, and “the territory” to the state. If, according to the classic theory, a state is made up of territory, population and legitimate authority, the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna had no territory and admitted that it was formed within BiH territory, respected the constitutionally-legal system of BiH, and had no population of its own. One of the accusations against the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna was that by using Kunas it negated the monetary sovereignty of BiH. But at that time in BiH everyone was using German Marks. One of the important proofs that the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna was not of a state-forming shape is in the decision made by the ministry and upon which it existed and exists today as an association of citizens who promote cultural contents.

After that it grew into a republic?

– That was the result of international agreements, that is, the initiative about three entities which do not bring into question the international subjectivity of BiH. Croats were among the first to sign that international act just as they were to sign all other acts proposed by the international community, while others refused to sign. Serbs did not adhere to the Washington Agreement, which in some of its elements for the Constitution of the Federation of BIH offered a reorganisation into a composite state. NATO military action followed, which broughtthem to the Dayton Agreement. For Serbs, at all times, the variation of separating the Serbian Republic and annexing it to Serbia was valid, and some represent that stance to this day. The international community also held talks about dividing BiH in their search for models for its internal organisation. My opinion is that it is a big delusion that one can guarantee constitutionality and equality of all three peoples and at the same time carry out an internal reorganisation based on ethnic principle. That is not possible! The civil principle of internal organisation of BiH must be contitutionally and legally institutionalised.

Everyone is accusing the Washington and the Dayton agreements?

I do not agree. In legal nature they are international contracts for peace. They stopped the war. The Serbs relinquished a part of the occupied territory, but a part of their war conquest was recognised. It is not just to accuse one nation because it defended itself, and not the other two. Annex IV of the Dayton agreement contains the Constitution of BiH and it can only and exclusively be changed by the elected members of BiH parliament. Therefore, the problem is not in the international community but in the (im)possibility of agreements between the political leaders of the three peoples in BiH. They represent maximalist attitudes because every appeasement and compromise is treated as a betrayal within their entities. In such a situation it is easier to expect the international community to make moves and take over the responsibility. Hence, I call them political entrepreneurs. Organised in this way BiH cannot be compatible with the EU. BiH needs thorough changes and that is why I put out 12 points of possible considerations for a new organisation of BiH, and at that I start from the need to make a combination of the national and civil across the entire BiH territory. The Constitution must guarantee the constitutionality through its institutionalisation of the protection of the individual, of members of minorities who are now excluded from the nation, and through parity of representation of the three equal and constitutional peoples in all bodies of representation all the way to the national level. The Constitutional court is there to guarantee fundamental rights and freedom of all, and if it cannot do that because it is not independent, and given that BiH is a member of the European Council, then there is the European court for Human Rights that guarantees fundamental freedoms and rights, and when BiH become a member of the EU there is also the court in Luxembourg.

Translated from the Croatian language by Ina Vukic

Nika Pinter – General Slobodan Praljak’s Angel

Nika Pinter (R) and Ina Vukic
March 2017
Photo: Ina Vukic

A few days into my visit to my Croatian homeland I could not have wished for a better meeting than being a part of celebrating the recognition of the work and dedication to justice and truth by a remarkable Croatian woman and attorney at law Nika Pinter. Nika Pinter was awarded the 2017 Croatian Women’s Network Award for  Leadership and Innovation.

 

However,  the most amazing and heart-filling professional undertaking of Pinter’s current pursuits and those of the recent past lies in her dedication to Croatian truth and the defence in the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague of  Croatian General from Bosnia and Herzegovina Slobodan Praljak, whose indictment for alleged war crimes, now on Appeal in The Hague, falls into the group of indictments  also known as “Herceg-Bosnia Six”. The Hague Appeals Chamber will commence hearing the appeal on 20th March 2017 and Nika Pinter will be there armed with the truth and arguments that hopefully will blow the Trial Chamber’s guilty vedict out of the water. The truth and justice must win in the end despite the false and vitriolic allegation of war crimes against Praljak and his five co-accused in The Hague. Truth and we must keep a positive a hopeful outlook just as it was in the cases against the Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Malden Markac who were acquitted in 2012 of war crimes they were indicted for by the ahague a prosecutor.

 

As many will remember the ICTY 2013 Trial Chamber sentenced the six Bosnia and Herzegovina Croats to prison sentences ranging from ten to twenty five years for crimes against Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina committed as part of a joint criminal enterprise. The six are jadranko Prljic, Bruno Stojic, Milivoj Petkovic, Slobodan Praljak, Valentin Coric. and Berislav Pusic.

 

The Trial Chamber concluded, with a dissenting opinion of Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti, that the conflict between HVO (Croatian defence council) and the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993-1994 was an international conflict and that most crimes against the Muslim population of Herceg Bosnia which the accused are charged with were committed as part of joint criminal enterprise that also involved a part of Croatian political and military leadership including Franjo Tudjman.

 

According to the Trial Chamber ‘s colourful imagination the implementation, the purpose of the said joint criminal enterprise was to establish a Croatian entity in the boundaries of the 1939 Croatian Banovina and eventually annexe that territory to Croatia in case Bosnia and Herzegovina disintegrated.

 

Mid-March 2016, Croatia submitted an application to be granted the status of an amicus curiae and join in appeals proceedings in the case at the ICTY in which the highest Croatian officials – former President Franjo Tudjman, former Defence Minister Gojko Susak, and former Croatian Army Chief-of-Staff Janko Bobetko – were declared, in a non-final verdict in the case, to have participated in a joint criminal enterprise aimed at ethnically cleaning parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

The trial judgement delivered in 2013 found that the three, now deceased, Croatian officials devised and implemented an alleged criminal enterprise with the aim of changing the ethnic make-up of the territories claimed to form part of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna by allegedly directing and coordinating events on the ground to commit the crimes which resulted from a a plan to remove the Muslim population from that area.

 

In its request Croatia noted that it wishes to be granted status amicus curiae for two reasons. Firstly because the trial chamber, in its judgement written on more than two thousand pages, did not cite a single piece of evidence that would corroborate the conclusion that Tudjman, Susak and Bobetko committed those crimes or intended for them to be committed and secondly, because by concluding that they were members of a criminal enterprise the trial chamber violated the European Convention on Human Rights.

 

In its request Croatia asked to be allowed to “file this amicus curiae brief and appear as amicus curiae in these proceedings” because it believes that it would be “desirable” as it would “assist [the Appeals Chamber] in the proper determination of the case.”

In its response dated March 31, ICTY prosecutors objected to Croatia’s request.

It is clear to all involved and all that follow this case that the case itself is difficult and complex particularly given the  frequently encountered conclusions by the prosecution and Trial Chamber judges that point to a utilisation of political analyses rather than hard evidence.

 

Let’s mark the coming days to 20th March and beyond to the moments of Appeal Chamber deliberations with prayers for the Croatian six from Heceg Bosna and their acquittal. Good luck Nika and all the Croatian defence team and hopefully Croatia itself will reignite its unconditional support for these brave and heroic warriors for Croatian freedom. Ina Vukic

 

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