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Zdravko Mucic Granted Early Release

Press Release
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The Hague, 9 July 2003

Zdravko Mucic Granted Early Release

On 9 July 2003, the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Judge Theodor Meron, granted Zdravko Mucic’s Request for early release, effective 18 July.

One of the co-accused in the so-called Celebici Camp case, Zdravko Mucic was sentenced on 16 November 1998 to seven year’s imprisonment (see Press Release 364e). Following proceedings before the Appeals Chamber and a new Trial Chamber, on 9 October 2001, the initial sentence was increased to nine years (see Press Release 628e). On 8 April 2003, the Appeals Chamber upheld the sentence (see Press Release 743e). On the same day, Zdravko Mucic, who had been in pre-trial and trial custody since 18 March 1996 filed a request for early release.

The President first considered the eligibility to early release of Zdravko Mucic, who was not serving his sentence in one of the States signatory to an agreement with the Tribunal on the enforcement of sentences. Considering that the Practice Direction on the Procedure for the Determination of Applications for Pardon, Commutation of Sentence and Early release of Persons Convicted by the Tribunal does not specify the early release procedure when a convicted person has served his sentence at the Detention Unit of the Tribunal, and that the conditions of eligibility regarding early release petitions should be applied equally to all convicted persons, the President concluded that "eligibility for early release in Signatory States starts at two-third of the sentence served (….)" and that "Zdravko Mucic’s application is receivable because he has served two-thirds of his sentence (…)".

Further, the President considered a number of submissions, including reports by the Commanding Officer of the Detention Unit and the Office of the Prosecutor. In addition, an interview was conducted on 24 June with Zdravko Mucic, who "acknowledged that the conditions at the Celebici prison-camp were appalling and expressed his respect for, and his gratitude, for the Bench and the judicial process". The President also consulted with the members of the Bureau.

In delivering the Order, the President took into consideration "the gravity of the offence committed by Zdravko Mucic while Commander of the Celebici prison-camp" as well as "Zdravko Mucic’s resolve to reintegrate into society, his good physical and mental condition, his irreproachable behaviour in detention, his attachment to his family and the possibility for him to exercise a profession when released".

Zdravko Mucic is the sixth person convicted by the Tribunal to have served their sentences (Drazen Erdemovic, Zlatko Aleksovski, Dragan Kolundzija, Milojica Kos and Damir Dosen).

Eleven convicted persons are currently serving their sentences (Dusko Sikirica, Drago Josipovic, Vladimir Santic, Stevan Todorovic, Anto Furundzija, Dusko Tadic, Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovac, Zoran Vukovic, Goran Jelisic and Biljana Plavsic). Three accused who have been convicted and sentenced are awaiting transfer to a State to serve their sentences (Milan Simic, Hazim Delic, Esad Landzo).