|(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)||
The Hague, 25 September 2001
Voluntary Surrender of Sefer Halilovic to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia welcomes the voluntary surrender of Sefer Halilovic on the 25 September 2001.
Following his surrender, Sefer Halilovic was transferred to the Detention Unit of the ICTY later the same day. The initial appearance of Sefer Halilovic will be scheduled in due course.
BACKGROUND ON THE INDICTMENT, THE ACCUSED AND THE CHARGES
The indictment was originally transmitted and filed by the Prosecutor on 30 July 2001. It was modified and supplemented on 10 September 2001 by the Prosecutor and confirmed by Judge Wald on 12 September 2001. The indictment remained under seal until the detention of Sefer Halilovic following his voluntary surrender on 25 September 2001.
According to the indictment, in 1993 the ABiH planned and conducted a military operation in Herzegovina called "NERETVA-93", the main purpose of which was to capture territory held by the Bosnian Croat Forces ("HVO") from Bugojno to Mostar by launching offensives within this area and thereby ending the blockade of Mostar.
It is alleged that, on 8 September 1993, there was continuous shooting in the village of Grabovica. Over the next two days the bodies of the Bosnian Croat civilians were seen in the village alongside the Neretva river and floating in the river. In all 33 Bosnian Croat civilians named in the indictment were killed in Grabovica.
Further, on 14 September 1993, in the course of Operation NERETVA-93, the Prozor Independent Battalion attacked the village of Uzdol which was then exclusively inhabited by Bosnian Croat civilians. During the course of the attack 29 Bosnian Croat civilians and one HVO prisoner of war were killed in Uzdol.
According to the indictment, Halilovic held the post of Deputy Commander of the Supreme Command Staff of the ABiH as well as Chief of the Supreme Command Staff of the ABiH from 18 July 1993 to until November 1993. From 21 August 1993, Halilovic was Head of an Inspection Team to command and co-ordinate the "NERETVA-93" operation and as such Halilovic was the most senior military commander for the operation in the field.
It is alleged that, notwithstanding his duties as a commander, Halilovic did not take effective measures to prevent killings of civilians in Grabovica and did not take steps to carry out a proper investigation to identify the perpetrators of the killings in both Grabovica and Uzdol and as commander of the operation to punish them accordingly. Further, Halilovic planned and was instrumental in the implementation of military operations carried out by the units which took part in the "NERETVA-93" operation.
The indictment charges the accused on the basis of superior criminal responsibility (Article 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal) with:
Violations of the laws and customs of war (Article 3 - murder).
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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