Crime in Velika Kladuša

On 25 March 2009, the Rijeka County court pronounced the verdict in which the defendant Zlatko Jušić was acquitted of charges, and the defendant Ibrahim Jušić was found guilty and sentenced to 7 years in prison.

The accused persons are charged that during armed conflicts in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993 and 1994 they committed in Velika Kladuša a war crime against civilians under Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZRH.

Appellate session of the Council of the VSRH was held on 16 September 2010. The VSRH upheld the first instance verdict.
INDICTMENT

The indictment No. K-DO-90/07 was issued by the Rijeka County State Attorney’s Office on 19 March 2008. According to the indictment:

the 1st defendant Zlatko Jušić, who at the time acted as Prime Minister of the so-called Autonomous Region of Western Bosnia, committed the following crimes during the armed conflict in Velika Kladuša in the period between 27 September 1993 and 21 August 1994:

· ordered and organized creation of detention and prison camps with the intention to detain and imprison civilians, who were then subjected to inhumane treatment and forced to join paramilitary units of the Autonomous Region of Western Bosnia;

· signed the order of 11 June 1994, which imposed surveillance measures and restricted freedom of movement on persons who opposed the creation of the Autonomous Region of Western Bosnia, and lead to creation of detention and prison camps for civilians (men aged 14-75, children up to 14 and women) who were then subjected to inhumane treatment, and physical and psychological abuse; beaten by truncheons, fists, feet, wooden items and gunstocks; some of the imprisoned civilians received severe injuries (ribs and arms fractures, from which one civilian died;

· on several occasions in his capacity as the Prime Minister he received information on the circumstances in detention and prison camps, but failed to take any action to improve the situation.

In sum, breaching the international law rules, the defendant planned and organized unlawful detention of civilians, and their physical and psychological abuse, forcing them into labour and military service of the so-called Autonomous Region of Western Bosnia;

and

the second accused Ibrahim Jušić committed the following crimes in the periods between 27 September 1993 and 21 August 1994, and 16 November 1994 and 7 August 1995, while acting as Head of the Office of Crime Prevention at the Velika Kladuša Public Security Office and Head of the State Security Office of the self-proclaimed Autonomous Region of Western Bosnia:

· participated (along with the members of his units) in unlawful imprisonment and isolation of civilians who opposed the creation of the Autonomous Region of Western Bosnia;

· examined (along with the subordinate police officers) the imprisoned men and women, subjecting them to inhumane treatment, and physical and psychological abuse; beating them with hands and feet, wooden and metal bars, truncheons, forced them that they beat one another with bats, hit themselves their faces; he insulted them calling names;

· raped two imprisoned women.

In sum, breaching the international law rules, the defendant ordered and himself inflicted torture on civilians, inhuman treatment, including inflicting intense suffering, unlawful imprisonment and rape.

Thus, the defendants committed a war crime against civilians, a felony punishable pursuant to Article 120, Paragraph 1 of the OKZRH.

The Indictment No. K-DO-90/07, of 19 March 2008 issued by the County State Attorney’s Office in Rijeka, is available in Croatian language here (PDF, 1,49 MB).

On 16 December 2008, the amended indictment was presented at the main hearing.

According to the amended indictment the defendant Zlatko Jušić was no longer charged that he personally ordered and organized the forming of collection centres and detention camps. With the amendment, the charges against him were that in his capacity as the Prime Minister, with the purpose of implementing the policy of Fikret Abdić who ordered the forming of the mentioned detention camps and collection centres, he participated in the work and in adoption of the order of 11 June 1994, which he personally signed.

Amended indictment of 16 December 2008 see in Croatian here (PDF, 264 KB).

On 20 March 2009 the indictment against Ibrahim Jušić was amended. The Prosecution representative stated that the indictment’ amendment constituted of specifying the persons who were under interrogation, physical and mental abuse by the defendants, their subordinate policemen and camp guards, providing also details how it was committed. This amended indictment charges Ibrahim Jušić with torture of civilians, their inhumane treatment, infliction of great suffering and unlawful confinement. The defendant was no longer charged with rape of two imprisoned women – that he had previously been charged with in the Indictment of 19 March 2008.

Amended Indictment of 20 March 2009 is available in Croatian here (PDF, 238 KB).
GENERAL INFORMATION

Rijeka County Court

Case No: K-17/08

War Crimes Council: Judge Ika Šarić, Council President; Judges Nataša Masovčić and Darko Lupi, Council members

Indictment No: K-DO-90/7, issued by the Rijeka County State Attorney’s Office on 19 March 2008, amended at the main hearing held on 16 December 2008 and 20 March 2009

Prosecution: Darko Karlović, the Rijeka County Deputy State’s Attorney

Criminal offence: a war crime against civilians pursuant to Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZRH

Defendants: Zlatko Jušić and Ibrahim Jušić

Defence: Silvije Degen, a lawyer practising in Zagreb, and Ana Trošelj, a lawyer practising in Rijeka – representing the 1st defendant Zlatko Jušić; Slobodan Večerina, a lawyer practising in Rijeka – representing the 2nd defendant Ibrahim Jušić

Attorney-in-fact of the injured persons: Josip Sladić, a lawyer practising in Sisak

Victims:

based on the amended indictment of 16 December 2008 in respect of the charges against the 1st defendant: Alija Feriz, Mujo Milak, Šemsudin Husić, Emin Redžić, Husein Mušić, Aziz Abdilagić, Hasib Delić nicknamed “Heba”, Mehmed Jušić, Mehmed Sijamhodžić, Kasim Ćano, Đeko Bibuljica, Hasan Đanić, Rasim Erdić (executed), Asja Galijašević, Beiza Kekić, Fatima Dorić, Nura Salkić, Fata Omeragić, Zuhra Hozanović,

 

– based on the amended indictment of 20 March 2009 in respect of the charges against the 2nd defendant: Smail Huskić, Mirsad Šakinović, Rasim Ićanović, Hasib Keserović, Zlatko Balić, Safija Huskić, Zuhdija Alagić, Alema Grahović, Omer Murgić, Mehmedalija Miljković, Rifet Đogić, Osman Galijašević, Bešir Dautović, Almadin Trgovčević, Mirsad Mušić

 

TRIAL MONITORING REPORTS

VELIKA KLADUSA – trial monitoring reports (in Croatian)

The main hearing in the case against the defendants Zlatko and Ibrahim Jušić began on 5 September 2008. The indictment was read and the defendants pleaded not guilty as charged stating that they would present their defence at the end of the evidence procedure. Thus far, twelve sessions have been held (in 2008 on September the 5th, October the 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th and December the 16th, and in 2009 on February the 2nd and 3rd, and in March the 19th, 20th and 24th). The public and monitors of the OSCE and Civic Committee for Human Rights were excluded during examination of some of the witnesses.

On 24 October 2008, based on the proposal by the defence counsel representing the 1st defendant Zlatko Jušić, his detention was vacated. He was released to attend the trial undetained and measures of precaution were imposed on him (dispossession of passport and mandatory reporting to the authorities). However, the County State Attorney’s Office appealed against the decision, and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia ordered again his detention.

The County Deputy State’s Attorney amended the description of facts in the indictment by significantly reducing the quantity of actions that the 1st defendant is charged with. Following to that at the hearing held on 16 December 2008, the Council vacated again the detention of the 1st defendant base on the proposal by his defence counsel.

The lawyer Saša Poldan revoked his power of attorney to further represent the defendant Ibrahim Jušić. For that reason , Slobodan Večerina, a lawyer practicing in Rijeka was appointed by the court (ex officio) to represent this defendant.
VERDICT

On 25 March 2009, the Council President of the War Crimes Council of the Rijeka County Court pronounced a verdict in which the defendant Zlatko Jušić was acquitted of charges, whereas the defendant Ibrahim Jušić was found guilty and sentenced to a 7-year prison term.

The Appellate session of the Council of the VSRH was held on 16 September 2010. The report is available in Croatian language here. The VSRH upheld the first instance verdict.