ICTY Prosecution Wants to Reopen Trial Against 6 Bosnian Croats

The prosecution at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has asked for permission to reopen the trial of six former Bosnian Croat leaders, including Jadranko Prlic, due to possession of new evidence.

The prosecution filed a motion today for the reopening of the trial of six former Bosnian Croat civil and military leaders. Their trial ended on 18 May.

In the motion, the prosecution claims that parts of the wartime notebooks of Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic, as well as audio recordings found in his apartment in Belgrade, could serve as new evidence of cooperation between the Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Croat armies and political leaders to divide Bosnia.

On 11 May this year, the prosecution received the seized audiotapes with a recording from a 1994 meeting between Jadranko Prlic and General Ratko Mladic, and his notes about different meetings between leaders of the Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats.

The prosecution is still working on transcription and translations, but they expect to be ready by the end of June.

The prosecution want to submit notes from the October 1992 meeting in Hungary entitled “Negotiations with the delegation of Croatia and Herceg Bosnia”. The Croatian delegation, according to the motion, consisted of Jadranko Prlic, Bruno Stojic and Slobodan Praljak.

It states that Mladic attributed to Praljak the statement: “The goal is that Banovina of 1939, if not we will continue the war”. The reference to Banovina refers to a Croatian province of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia between 1939 and 1943. Its capital was at Zagreb and it included most of present-day Croatia along with portions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.

According to Mladic, Praljak also said: “The Muslims do not have any ammunition, and we are not going to give them any”.

The second Mladic note is from the following day, in which Mladic states that the meeting was “strictly confidential” and no information should be given about it. According to the note, an agreement was reached on ceasefire and repair of the hydroelectric power plant in Jajce and the exchange of prisoners.

At the end of October, Mladic again met with Prlic, Petkovic, Prljak and Stojic and discussed an increase in “Croat-Muslim tensions” quoting Praljak as saying: “we are on a good path to compel Alija to divide Bosnia”.

Mladic’s note from July 1993 is from a meeting with Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic. According to the note, Karadzic said: “Help the Croats in order to force the Muslims on division of Bosnia”.

At a meeting in July, Mladic discussed military cooperation between the Army of Republika Srpska and the Croatian Council of Defence with Milovoj Petkovic.

During a meeting in February 1994, according to the Mladic notes, Prlic said: “Muslims are our common enemies”.

Jadranko Prlic, Bruno Stojic, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petkovic, Valentin Coric and Berislav Pusic, all former political and military officials from so-called Herceg Bosnia, are indicted for war crimes against Bosnian Muslims.

According to the indictment, the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna declared its existence on 18 November 1991 as “a political and territorial entity on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

In August 1993, the Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna declared itself the “Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna”. Mate Boban was the president until approximately February 1994. In spring 1992, the Croatian Defence Council was established as Herceg-Bosna’s armed forces.

Previously, the Prosecution submitted a motion asking for permission to present evidence from the notebooks at the trial of Radovan Karadzic, wartime Bosnian Serb leader; the trial of Franko Simatovic and Jovica Stanisic, former Serbian secret service officers; and the trial of Stojan Zupljanin and Mico Stanbisic, wartime Republika Srpska police officers.

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