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12 February 2015
News

Trial of Former HVO Commander Puljic Begins April 1

Albina Sorguč BiRN BiH Sarajevo

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has set April 1 as the start date of the trial of former Croatian Defence Council commander Mile Puljic. Puljic has been charged with crimes committed against the Bosniak population in Mostar during the Bosnian war.

At the pretrial status conference, Bosnian state prosecutor Remzija Smailagic said she would examine 85 witnesses and two court experts. She said that she would need approximately 70 days to present her evidence.

"We have no objection to how the prosecution will present its evidence," said Senka Nozica, Puljic’s defense attorney.

Bosnia’s state prosecution has charged Puljic with participating in a joint criminal enterprise in Mostar, which involved enforced disappearances, unlawful arrests and detention, and using detainees to serve as labourers and human shields on the frontline, from May 1993 to March 1994.

The indictment alleges that as part of this joint criminal enterprise, women, children, and the elderly were unlawfully detained at various locations and forcibly transferred to territory controlled by the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“By taking Bosniak detainees from the Heliodrom detention camp and other facilities to the front lines in order to perform forced labour, by forcing them to act as human shields, and by abusing them in other ways, 11 Bosniak victims were killed, and more than 70 persons were wounded. Two persons were taken in an unknown direction,” the indictment alleges.

The indictment states that Puljic was Commander of the Second Battalion of the Second Brigade of the Croatian Defence Council.

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