Tuesday, October 16, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 16,2007) - More than a month after he started a hunger strike and stopped attending hearings before the Bosnian State Court, Croatian war criminal Zdravko Mihaljevic ended his protest.

After refusing to appear at the four previous hearings, Croatian war criminal Zdravko Mihaljevic attended his trial before the Bosnian State Court yesterday while his defence council confirmed that the indictee has ended his hunger strike.

"Zdravko decided to attend trial, although the transportation can endanger his health," Dusan Tomic said, adding that the defence would like Mihaljevic to be transferred from the detention unit in Tuzla back to Sarajevo.

Croatian war criminal Zdravko Mihaljevic, a former member of the Croatian aggressor's formations, is charged with involvement in the capture, pillaging and burning of the Bosnian village of Tulice near Kiseljak on June 12, 1993,during the Croatian aggression against Bosnia.

Seven Bosnian civilians were murdered by the Croatian aggressor
in this attack, while other residents were taken to Kiseljak, where they were held in inhumane conditions and maltreated.

On September 10, together with a number of other war criminals held in Kula prison, Mihaljevic went on hunger strike, requesting the Bosnian State Court to apply the Criminal Code of the Former Yugoslavia instead of the Criminal Code of Bosnia, which prescribes more severe punishments.

In the course of the strike, the Bosnian State Court rendered a decision ordering transfer of the detainees to other detention units in Bosnia. Croatian war criminal Mihaljevic was transferred to Tuzla.

At yesterday's hearing, the prosecutor Slavica Terzic completed presentation of material evidence, including a number of documents identifying and certifying the death of 12 Bosnian civilians from Tulice village.

The prosecutor also presented a written report on the work of the Croatian aggressor's Unit in Kiseljak, which indicates that 29 detained Bosnian civilians from Tulice were brought to Kiseljak on June 12, 1993 and that they had to perform forced labour.

The defence objected to the introduction of this document in the material evidence until all signatories of the document have testify. According to Tomic, these people are "available and they can be examined".

The Bosnian State Prosecutor has also included in the material evidence the verdicts rendered by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague against Croatian war criminal Dario Kordic (sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment for crimes committed in the Lasva valley) and Croatian war criminal Mario Cerkez (sentenced to six years imprisonment for crimes committed in the Lasva valley). Again, the defence has objected to the inclusion of these documents.

"In principle, the defence is against these pieces of evidence, as the verdicts do not mention the name of my client. Why the prosecution does not include in its material evidence the verdict against Ivica Rajic, which clearly shows what happened in Tulice," Tomic said.

Croatian war criminal Ivica Rajic pleaded guilty to charges before the ICTY and was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for crimes committed in Stupni Do village near Vares.

The Trial Chamber of the Bosnian State Court admitted all pieces of evidence presented by the prosecution and pointed out that the relevance and authenticity of these documents cannot be questioned. It also asked the defence to present its evidence presentation plan.

"For the time being, we have planned the examination of 11 witnesses. Two of them also testified as prosecution witnesses, but we would like to examine them directly," Tomic explained.

His list also includes Ivica Rajic and Tibor Prajo, who was found guilty of war crimes in Tulice by the Supreme Court of the FBiH Entity.

The first three defence witnesses will testify on November 2, 2007.

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