[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] convicted [press release; judgment summary, PDF] six Bosnian Croat political and military leaders Wednesday for persecuting, expelling and murdering Muslims during the Bosnian Civil War [JURIST news archive]. The sentences, ranging from 10 to 25 years, were handed down by a three-judge panel for crimes including murder, rape, illegal expulsion and torture of Muslims. The longest sentence of 25 years was given to Jadranko Prlic [case materials], former leader of the Croatian Community. The other high-ranking political or military figures convicted included Bruno Stojic, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petkovic, Valentic Coric and Berislav Pusic. The ruling also specifically named the late president of the Republic of Croatia Franjo Tudjman [BBC profile] and his former defense minister Gojko Susak as key participants in the crimes against humanity. In the ruling, Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti stated that the torture and murder of Muslims “were not the random acts of a few unruly soldiers, but part of a plan to permanently remove Muslims from territory claimed by Bosnian Croats.”
The trial against the six accused began [JURIST report] in April 2006 and represents the most recent convictions against individuals responsible for human rights abuses during the Bosnian Civil War, which left approximately 100,000 people dead and about 2.2 million homeless. Since its establishment in 1993, the ICTY has indicted more than 161 people for violations of humanitarian law committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 2001. The ICTY marked its twentieth anniversary [JURIST report] last week.