Press Release . Communiqué de presse
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The Hague, 21 March 2000
MLADEN NALETILIC IS TRANSFERRED
FROM ZAGREB TO THE HAGUE
Today, Tuesday 21 March 2000, Mladen Naletilic, also known as "Tuta", was transported from Zagreb into the custody of the Tribunal in The Hague. He is indicted along with his co-accused, Vinko Martinovic, also known as "Stela".
Naletilic’s transfer from custody in Zagreb to the Tribunal had been delayed due to health problems, however following an examination by an independent medical team on 24 and 25 February 2000, he was deemed fit to travel, provided it was under the appropriate medical supervision.
Naletilic was born on 1 December 1946 in Siroki Brijeg, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Martinovic was born on 21 September 1963 in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Martinovic was arrested on 26 February 1997 in Croatia and transferred to the Tribunal on 9 August 1999. At his initial appearance on 12 August 1999, Martinovic pleaded "not guilty" to all the counts contained in the
indictment against him. An initial appearance for Naletilic will be announced in due course.
The Indictment ("Tuta & Stela")
The indictment, confirmed on 21 December 1998, generally alleges that, in 1993 the special unit "Kaznjenicka Bojna" (Convicts’ Battalion, "KB") along with other units of the army of the Republic of Croatia (HV) and Croatian Defence Council (HVO) attacked villages, particularly in the municipalities of Jablanica and Mostar, and subsequently carried out the expulsion and forcible
transfer of the Bosnian Muslim civilians, arrested Bosnian Muslim adult males, destroyed Bosnian Muslim properties and the Sovici mosque.
Between April 1993 and at least January 1994, Bosnian Muslim civilians and prisoners of war under the command of Naletilic and Martinovic were interned in the Heliodrom detention centre and the base of the KB sub-unit ATG "Mrmak", later named "Vinko Skrobo", under the command of Martinovic.
It is alleged that, during their detention, Bosnian Muslim detainees were repeatedly tortured by Naletilic and Martinovic and their subordinates. Severe physical and mental suffering was intentionally inflicted on Bosnian Muslims in order to obtain information, as punishment, in retaliation to adverse developments on the front lines, to intimidate or based on ethnicity or religion.
The indictment also alleges that, between May 1993 and at least January 1994, detainees were taken to the confrontation lines to be used as human shields and to perform various dangerous military support tasks benefiting the HV and HVO.
According to the indictment the accused held the following positions during the relevant period:
Mladen Naletilic was the commander of the KB, founded by him in 1991. The KB was composed of approximately 200 to 300 soldiers grouped in several sub-units, called ATG or ATJ (Anti-terrorist Group or Unit) with bases around Mostar.
Vinko Martinovic was the commander of the sub-unit ATG "Mrmak" and a subordinate to Mladen Naletilic.
The indictment charges the accused on the basis of individual criminal responsibility (Article 7(1) of the Statute of the Tribunal) and superior criminal responsibility (Article 7(3) of the Statute) with:
Crimes against humanity (Article 5 –persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds; inhumane acts; murder; torture),
Grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions (Article 2 - inhuman treatment; wilful killing; torture; wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health; unlawful transfer of a civilian; extensive destruction of property), and
Violations of the laws or customs of war (Article 3 – cruel treatment; unlawful labour; murder; wanton destruction not justified by military necessity; plunder of public or private property; seizure, destruction or wilful damage done to institutions dedicated to religion).
The Naletilic and Martinovic case is at the pre-trial stage; a date for the commencement of the trial has not been set as yet.
Trial Chamber I:
Judge Almiro Rodrigues, Portugal (Presiding)
Judge Fouad Riad, Egypt
Judge Patricia Wald, United States of America
Office of the Prosecutor:
Mr. Franck Terrier
Mr. Vasili Poriouvaev
Counsel for Martinovic:
Mr. Branko Seric