This case summary is part of a collection of summaries describing the cases before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). See the Online Resource Hub pages on the ICTY and International Criminal Law, and the table of ICTY case summaries for additional information.
Trial Judgment: 29 May 2013; Appeal Judgment: 29 November 2017
Jadranko Prlić, president of the HVO and prime minister of the HR-HB, Bruno Stojić, head of the Department of Defence for HR-HB and in charge of the majority of the HVO forces, Slobodan Praljak, commander of the HVO Main Staff and held office in the Ministry of Defence of Croatia, Milivoj Petković, chief of the HVO Main Staff and deputy overall commander of the HVO forces, Valentin Ćorić, head of the HVO Military Police administration and Minister of Interior in the HR-HB, and Berislav Pušić, overseeing official at the Department of Criminal Investigations of the Military Police Administration and head of the commission in charge of all HVO prisons and detention facilities, stood trial for allegedly having committed crimes against non-Croats living in the HR-HB, including by: establishing, organizing, directing, funding, facilitating, supporting, and maintaining and operating Herceg-Bosna and HVO governmental and political structures and processes. This case marks the final appeal decision to be heard at the ICTY, and was notably the event during which defendant Praljak committed suicide during the sentencing portion at the Appeals Chamber. The prosecution accused them, on the basis membership in a joint criminal enterprise of individual and superior criminal responsibility, of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions for willful killing, inhuman treatment of sexual assault, unlawful deportation, transfer and confinement of a civilian, inhuman treatment, and extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity; violations of the laws or customs of war for cruel treatment, unlawful labor, wanton destruction or devastation not justified by military necessity, destruction or willful damage done to religious or educational institutions, plunder of private or public property, unlawful attacks on civilians, and unlawful infliction of terror on civilians; and crimes against humanity for persecutions, murder, rape, deportation, imprisonment, and inhumane acts.
In 2013, the Trial Chamber convicted the defendants, on the basis of individual criminal responsibility, of crimes against humanity for persecutions, murder, rape, deportation, imprisonment, and inhumane acts; violations of the laws or customs of war for cruel treatment, unlawful labor, destruction to religious or educational institutions, unlawful attacks on civilians, and unlawful infliction of terror; and of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions for willful killing, sexual assault, unlawful deportation, transfer and confinement of a civilian, inhuman treatment, and extensive destruction of property, with Prlić, Stojić, Petković, and Ćorić additionally guilty of rape as a crime against humanity and Prlić, Stojić, Petković, Ćorić, and Praljak additionally guilty of grave breaches for appropriation of property.
In 2017, the Appeals Chamber decided some appeals which reversed a limited number of findings by the Trial Chamber supporting the convictions of those accused, but did not overturn any convictions. The Trial Chamber sentenced Prlić to 25 years’ imprisonment; Stojić, Petković, and Praljak to 20 years’ imprisonment; Ćorić, to 16 years’ imprisonment; and Pušić to 10 years’ imprisonment. All sentences were upheld by the Appeals Chamber.