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Vinko Martinović Transferred to Italy to Serve Sentence

Press Release
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)

The Hague, 13 May 2008

Vinko Martinović Transferred to Italy to Serve Sentence

Vinko Martinović was transferred last Friday to Italy to serve his sentence of 18 years’ imprisonment for crimes committed against Bosnian Muslims in the Mostar area of Bosnia and Herzegovina from April 1993 to January 1994.

Martinović, also known as Stela, was commander of a sub-unit of the Convicts’ Battalion, which was a military unit founded by his co-accused in this case, Mladen Naletilić, within the Croatian Defence Council (HVO).

On 31 March 2003, Martinović was convicted for persecutions, inhumane acts, inhumane treatment, unlawful labour, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, murder, willful killing, unlawful transfer of a civilian and plunder. Martinović was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment. Naletilić was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment. Martinović’s sentence was confirmed on 3 May 2006 by the Appeals Chamber.

Martinović was responsible for and personally involved in the forcible removal of Bosnian Muslims from the West bank of Mostar, leaving that side of the town “completely rid of Muslims”. The Muslims, including women, children and elderly, were forced out of their homes at gun point and their homes looted. He also rounded up the Muslim civilian population of Mostar and detained them in the Heliodrom detention camp. Martinović used prisoners of war to dig trenches or carry wounded and dead soldiers, as well as act as human shields on the front line.

A case information sheet providing an overview of the case can be found on the Tribunal’s website at:

The Tribunal indicted 161 persons for serious violations of humanitarian law committed on the territory of former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 2001. Proceedings against 113 have been concluded.

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

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