|(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)||
The Hague, 6 January 1998
Initial appearance of Vlatko Kupreskic on Friday 16 January at 9 a.m.
The date for the initial appearance of Vlatko KUPRESKIĆ has been set on FRIDAY 16 JANUARY 1998 at 9 a.m.
Vlatko KUPRESKIĆ will appear before Trial Chamber II consisting of Judge Antonio CASSESE (presiding), Judge Richard MAY and Judge Florence MUMBA. He will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty on each of the counts he is charged with in the indictment. The accused will be assisted by his counsel, Mr Borislav Krajina from Sarajevo.
This hearing is public. All media representatives are invited to attend.
Background on the Accused
Vlatko KUPRESKIĆ is one of the accused named in the indictment “Kupreskić & others” issued by the ICTY on 10 November 1995 after an investigation by the Office of the Prosecutor into the “persecution on political, racial and religious grounds of the Bosnian Muslim population” in the Lasva Valley area (Central Bosnia) in 1993.
Vlatko KUPRESKIĆ was detained on 18 December 1997 by S-FOR soldiers who transferred him the same day to the custody of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (see Press Release 277). Since then, his state of health has sufficiently improved to enable him to appear before a Trial Chamber.
Born on 1 January 1958 in the village of Pirici, Vlatko KUPRESKIĆ is a cousin of Zoran and Mirjan KUPRESKIĆ who were named in the same indictment and who surrendered themselves to the Tribunal’s custody on 6 October 1997, along with Vladimir SANTI], Drago JOSIPOVI], and Dragan PAPI](see Press Release 246).
During their initial appearance on 8 October, these five latter accused entered a plea of not guilty.
Background on the indictment against Vlatko Kupreskić
According to the indictment, Vlatko KUPRESKIĆ was in 1993 a soldier with the HVO, the armed forces to the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna. He allegedly participated in the “unlawful attack against the civilian population and individual citizens of the village of Ahmici” and in the “shooting ...from in front of his house” at a Muslim family, the Pezer family, who was on the run: “Fata Pezer, wife of Ismaïl Pezer, was shot and killed, while their daughter Dzenana Pezer and another Bosnian Muslim were shot and wounded”.
Vlatko KUPRESKIĆ is charged with 3 counts of Grave Breaches of the Geneva Conventions (unlawful and wanton destruction of property not justified by military necessity, wilful killing, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health) and 3 counts of Violations of the Laws or customs of war (deliberate attack on the civilian population and wanton destruction of a village, murder, cruel treatment of civilians).
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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