Former Bosnian Croat militia leader transferred to UN war crimes Tribunal

Ivica Rajic, 45, is charged with ordering an attack on the Bosnian village of Stupni Dol in October 1993 in which at least 16 Muslim civilians were killed. Croatian authorities arrested him in April, nearly eight years after The Hague-based Tribunal’s indictment had been handed down.Under that 1995 indictment, Mr. Rajic was acknowledged as leader of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO), the armed forces of the self-proclaimed Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, which clashed with forces of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993. The attack on Stupni Do – almost exclusively Bosnian Muslim – left the town virtually destroyed, and the surviving inhabitants were forced to flee.Mr. Rajic’s charges include two counts of personal responsibility for “grave breaches” of international humanitarian law – wilful killing and destruction of property – as well as one count of deliberately attacking civilians and wanton property destruction.According to the Tribunal, Mr. Rajic was in the custody of the authorities of Herceg-Bosna (ÔHZ-HB’), when the indictment was issued. He was released in December 1995, and reportedly went into hiding in Croatia. In 1996, the ICTY’s Trial Chamber unanimously confirmed all counts of the indictment against Mr. Rajic and issued an international warrant for his arrest, which was sent to all States and to the multinational Implementation Force (IFOR).In addition, the Trial Chamber noted that the failure to arrest Mr. Rajic was due to the refusal of both the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Croatia to cooperate with the Tribunal. It certified such failure for the purpose of notifying the UN Security Council.

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