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Mladen Naletilic ("Tuta") and Vinko Martinovic ("Stela") indicted for their
alleged involvement in the ethnic cleansing of the mostar municipality
On Monday 21 December 1998, Judge Richard May confirmed the indictment submitted three days before by the Prosecutor, Justice Louise Arbour, against MLADEN NALETILIC, also known as "Tuta", and VINKO MARTINOVIC, also known as "Stela".
According to the indictment,
- Mladen NALETILIC "Tuta" was born on 1 December 1946 in Bosnia and Herzegovina and "acquired the citizenship of the Republic of Croatia, which he maintains to date". He left the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s, and "remained abroad until his return to his country of origin in 1990".
On or about June 1991, Mladen NALETILIC founded a special unit, the "Kaznjenicka Bojna" (KB, Convicts’ Battalion) and became its commander. 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 basis around Mostar.
The main tasks of the KB "were combat missions on the front-line, expulsions and attacks against Bosnian Muslim civilians in the territories" Sin Bosnia and HerzegovinaC occupied by the HV (the army of the Republic of Croatia) and the HVO (the executive, administrative and defence body of the then Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna).
- Vinko MARTINOVIC "Stela" was born on 21 September 1963 in Bosnia and Herzegovina and "acquired the citizenship of the Republic of Croatia, which he maintains to date". A commander in the Croatian Defence Forces (HOS) militia in Mostar in 1992, he later joined the KB where he became the commander of the sub-unit ATG "Mrmak", later named "Vinko Skrobo".
THE EVENTS COVERED BY THE INDICTMENT
According to the indictment,
9) In April 1993, the HVO launched a series of attacks against the Bosnian Muslim civilian population, such as the attack of Ahmici on 16 April and others in central Bosnia. At the same time, on 17 April 1993, forces of the HV and HVO, including the KB, attacked the villages of Sovici and Doljani (municipality of Jablanica) under the overall command of MLADEN NALETILIC, and carried out the forcible transfer of the Bosnian Muslim population and destruction of their properties. Beginning simultaneously in April 1993, in the Herzegovinian municipalities of Stolac, Capljina and Mostar, the HVO carried out the arrest of prominent Bosnian Muslims and imposed different measures of persecution against the Bosnian Muslim population, such as dismissals from work position and public service, discrimination in the delivery of humanitarian aid, attacks against Bosnian Muslim houses and properties, and imposition of Croat language and education.
10) On 9 May 1993, the HV and HVO, including the KB, launched a large military offensive against the Bosnian Muslim population of Mostar and the positions of the AbiH in the city, provoking the start of an armed conflict with the ABiH in the municipality of Mostar. Subsequently the Bosnian Muslim population was the target of a broad campaign of violence in the areas of Mostar occupied by the HV and HVO, lasting at least until the cease-fire and peace agreements of February and March 1994. Across the confrontation line, the ABiH held section of the city was under siege by the HV and HVO forces, who were shelling intensely the area and preventing the arrival of humanitarian aid and basic supplies. MLADEN NALETILIC, as commander of the KB, and VINKO MARTINOVIC, as commander of the "Mrmak" or "Vinko Skrobo" sub-unit of the KB were leading perpetrators of this campaign against the Bosnian Muslim population.
11) The goal of this campaign by the HV and HVO forces, commonly referred to as "ethnic cleansing", was to gain control of the municipalities of Mostar, Jablanica and others in Bosnia Herzegovina and to force the Bosnian Muslim population to leave these territories or to substantially reduce and subjugate this population. The means used for this purpose included killings, beatings, torture, evictions, destruction of cultural and religious heritage, looting, deprivation of basic civil and human rights, and mass expulsions, detentions and imprisonments, all of them executed following a systematic pattern of ethnic discrimination. As a result of this campaign, tens of thousands of Bosnian Muslims abandoned Mostar, Jablanica and other municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The traditional ethnic diversity of these municipalities was virtually eliminated, and an ethnically homogeneous society and institutions were imposed in these areas.
Mladen NALETILIC and Vinko MARTINOVIC are allegedly "individually responsible" pursuant to Article 7(1) of the Statute and also, or alternatively, "responsible as superiors for the acts of their subordinates", pursuant to Article 7(3) of the Statute.
"Individual criminal responsibility involves planning, instigating, ordering, committing, or otherwise aiding and abetting in the planning, preparation or execution of the acts or omissions (…)"
"A superior is responsible for the acts of his subordinates if the superior knew, or had reason to know, that his subordinate was about to commit such acts, or had done so, and the superior failed to take the necessary and reasonable measures to prevent such further acts, or to punish the perpetrators thereof."
The alleged crimes are: persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds; unlawful labour and human shields as inhuman treatment and wilful killing; torture and wilfully causing great suffering; murder, wilful killing and wilfully causing great suffering; forcible transfer; destruction and plunder of property.
Mladen NALETILIC stands accused of 17 counts: Crimes against humanity (four counts), Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions (six counts) and Violations of the laws or customs of war (seven counts).
Vinko MARTINOVIC stands accused of 22 counts: Crimes against humanity (five counts), Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions (eight counts) and Violations of the laws or customs of war (nine counts).
A copy of the indictment can be obtained at the Tribunal’s entrance between Wednesday 23 December and Sunday 27 December 1998. As of Monday 28 December 1998 copies will be available upon request from the Public Information Unit. The indictment will be released on Internet as soon as possible.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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