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The Tribunal's Appeals Chamber today confirmed the conviction and sentences of Bosnian Croat commanders Mladen Naletilic, also known as Tuta and Vinko Martinovic, also known as Stela.
On 31 March 2003, the Trial Chamber sentenced Mladen Naletilic and Vinko Martinovic to 20 and 18 years' imprisonment, respectively, for their involvement in the ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslim civilians in the Mostar area of Bosnia and Herzegovina from April 1993 to January 1994. During the relevant period, Mladen Naletilic was commander of the Convicts' Battalion, a military unit within the Croatian Defence Council (HVO). Vinko Martinovic was commander of a sub-unit within the Convicts' Battalion. Among other charges, both accused were found guilty of persecutions, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful transfer of civilians and unlawful labour. Vinko Martinovic was also found guilty of murder while Mladen Naletilic was found guilty for acts of torture.
Both the Prosecution and the Defence for the two accused appealed the Trial Chamber's judgement. The grounds of appeal addressed issues regarding due process of law including vagueness of the indictment and alternative charging, the international character of the armed conflict, the elements of crimes, various factual findings made by the Trial Chamber, as well as cumulative convictions. Mladen Naletilic and Vinko Martinovic also appealed their sentences.
In its Judgement, the Appeals Chamber dismissed the vast majority of the grounds of appeal raised by both sides.
The Appeals Chamber also set aside, in part, a few of the convictions entered by the Trial Chamber against Naletilic and Martinovic. However, taking into account the particular circumstances of this case as well as the form and degree of the participation of the accused in the crimes affirmed on appeal, as well as the seriousness of those crimes, the Appeals Chamber found that the sentences imposed by the Trial Chamber against them were within the range that a reasonable Trial Chamber could have ordered. It therefore confirmed their sentences to 20 and 18 years' imprisonment, respectively.
The Tribunal has charged 161 persons for war crimes committed during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. To date, proceedings against 93 persons have concluded.
See Summary of the Judgement read out in court
The full text of the Judgement can be found on the ICTY website at:
Courtroom proceedings can be followed on the Tribunal's website.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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