Zagreb Frees Bosnian Croat after Controversial Sentence Cut

Former Croatian Defence Council officer Marko Radic, whose crimes against humanity sentence was controversially reduced when he was transferred from Bosnia to Croatia, was released from prison in December, a Zagreb court confirmed.

This article is also available in: Shqip Македонски Bos/Hrv/Srp

Marko Radic at the Bosnian state court. Photo: Bosnian state court.

Marko Radic, a former Bosnian Croat battalion commander who was convicted of committing crimes against humanity against Bosniaks in the Mostar area of Bosnia and Herzegovina during wartime, was released from prison in Zagreb on December 2, Zagreb County Court told BIRN.

Radic was due to remain in prison until 2027, but was released because of the time he has already served.

“According to the data obtained from the prison in Zagreb, Marko Radic (son of Franjo, born on August 13, 1959) was discharged after serving a sentence of imprisonment of 12 years and six months. The time spent in investigative custody from June 2, 2006 was included in the penalty,” court spokesperson Kresimir Devcic said.

Radic was convicted in March 2011 by the Bosnian state court in Sarajevo and sentenced to 21 years in jail.

Hhis request to serve his sentence in Croatia instead of Bosnia and Herzegovina was then granted.

The Zagreb court agreed to take over the execution of the Bosnian court’s judgment, but its own verdict, delivered last October, cut Radic’s sentence from 21 years to 12-and-a-half because the Croatian legal system does not recognise the concept of a ‘joint criminal enterprise’, which was part of the Bosnian verdict.

The Bosnian state court’s verdict found that Radic, as commander of the First Bijelo Polje Battalion of the Croatian Defence Council’s Second Brigade, participated in setting up prisons and ordering the arrest and unlawful detention of several dozen Bosniak civilians, including women, children and elderly people.

The verdict also said that he participated in the unlawful detention of Bosniak men at the Heliodrom prison camp.

The men were taken to the village of Vojno to do forced labour and kept in brutal, humiliating and inhumane conditions in a garage and the basement of a house in the village.

October’s decision by Zagreb County Court to cut Radic’s sentence caused a political storm in Sarajevo.

A public feud erupted between a Bosnian Croat minister and his Bosniak deputy, while a war victims’ association filed a criminal complaint against the minister, Josip Grubesa.

Croatian jurist and ex-President Ivo Josipovic told BIRN in November 2018 that the Zagreb court’s decision to reduce Radic’s prison did not reflect the gravity of his crime.

“I personally consider that the crimes which the Zagreb County Court accepted as grounds for continuing the execution of the sentence in Croatia are so grave that the newly determined sentence is insufficient and disproportionate to the gravity of the crime,” Josipovic said.

Anja Vladisavljevic

This article is also available in: Shqip Македонски Bos/Hrv/Srp

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