Croat–Bosniak War

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Croat–Bosniak War
Part of the Bosnian War
Ratna razaranja-Mostar.jpeg
A war-ravaged street in Mostar during the conflict.
Date 19 June 1992 – 23 February 1994
(1 year, 8 months and 4 days)
Location Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly Central Bosnia and along the Neretva river.
Result Washington Agreement
Territorial
changes
Territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina controlled by the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) drops from 20 percent to 10 percent by the time of the Washington Agreement.1
Belligerents
 Herzeg-Bosnia
 Croatia
Bosnia and Herzegovina Republic of Bosnia and
         Herzegovina

Croatian Defence Forces2a
Commanders and leaders
Croatia Franjo Tuđman
         (President of Croatia)

Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia Mate Boban
         (President of the Croatian
          Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia
)

Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia Milivoj Petković
         (HVO chief of staff)
Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia Dario Kordić
         (Bosnian Croat leader)
Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia Valentin Ćorić
         (HVO military police)

Bosnia and Herzegovina Alija Izetbegović
         (President of the Republic
          of Bosnia and Herzegovina
)

Bosnia and Herzegovina Sefer Halilović
(ARBiH chief of staff 1992–1993)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Rasim Delić
(ARBiH chief of staff 1993–1995)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Arif Pašalić
         (IV Corps ARBiH)


Blaž Kraljević 
         (Croatian Defence Forces)

Strength
50,000 soldiers3 80,000 soldiers4
a. 1992.

The Croat–Bosniak War was a conflict between the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the self-proclaimed secessionist Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia, supported by the Republic of Croatia, that lasted from 19 June 19925 – 23 February 1994. The conflict came as a result of the Karađorđevo and Graz agreements which envisioned the partition of Bosnia and Herzegovina into Serb and Croat entities, and began when Bosnian Croat forces turned on Bosniaks, who had been their allies up to that point.67 Due to the involvement of Croatia's armed forces which supported Bosnian Croats, the ICTY effectively determined the war's nature to be international between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in numerous verdicts against Bosnian Croat political and military leaders.8 The Croat-Bosniak war is often referred to as a "war within a war" because it was part of the larger Bosnian War.

There are no precise statistics dealing with the casualties of the Croat-Bosniak conflict along ethnic lines. The Sarajevo-based Research and Documentation Center's (IDC) data from 2007 on human losses in the regions caught in the Croat-Bosniak conflict as part of the wider Bosnian War, however, can serve as a rough approximation. According to this data, in Central Bosnia most of the 10,448 documented casualties (soldiers and civilians) were Bosniaks (62%), with Croats in second (24%) and Serbs (13%) in third place. The municipalities of Gornji Vakuf-Uskoplje and Bugojno also geographically located in Central Bosnia, with the 1,337 documented casualties are not included in Central Bosnia statistics, but in Vrbas region statistics. Approximately 70-80% of the casualties from Gornje Povrbasje were Bosniaks. In the region of Neretva river of 6,717 casualties, 54% were Bosniaks, 24% Serbs and 21% Croats. The casualties in those regions were mostly but not exclusively the consequence of Croat-Bosniak conflict. To a lesser extent the conflict with the Serbs also resulted in a number of casualties included in the statistics.9

Background

During the Yugoslav Wars, the objectives of nationalists from Croatia were shared by Croat nationalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina.10 The ruling party in the Republic of Croatia, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), organized and controlled the branch of the party in Bosnia and Herzegovina. By the latter part of 1991, the more extreme elements of the party, under the leadership of Mate Boban, Dario Kordić, Jadranko Prlić, Ignac Koštroman and local leaders such as Anto Valenta,10 and with the support of Franjo Tuđman and Gojko Šušak, had taken effective control of the party.citation needed

Following the declaration of independence, the Serbs attacked different parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The state administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina effectively ceased to function having lost control over the entire territory. The Croats and their leader Franjo Tuđman also aimed at securing parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina as Croatian. Secret discussions between Franjo Tuđman and Slobodan Milošević on the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina were held as early as March 1991 known as the Karađorđevo agreement. The policies of the Republic of Croatia and its leader Franjo Tuđman towards Bosnia and Herzegovina were never totally transparent and always included Franjo Tuđman's ultimate aim of expanding Croatia's borders.11

On 12 November 1991, numerous leading members of the Bosnian HDZ drafted a document that stated, among other things, that "... the Croat people in Bosnia-Herzegovina must finally undertake a decisive and active policy that should bring about the realisation of our centuries-old dream: a common Croatian state." It was signed by Mate Boban, Vladimir Šoljić, Božo Raić, Ivan Bender, Pero Marković, Dario Kordić and others.1213 On 18 November 1991, the party branch in Bosnia and Herzegovina, proclaimed the existence of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia, as a separate "political, cultural, economic and territorial whole," on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.14

In January 1992, Tuđman arranged for Stjepan Kljuić, president of the Bosnian branch of the HDZ who favored cooperating with the Bosniaks towards a unified Bosnian state, to be ousted and replaced by Mate Boban, who favored Croatia to annex Croat-inhabited parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina.15

On 9 May 1992, Karadžić and Boban met in Graz and formed an agreement on the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina.1617 In the same month Major General Ante Roso declared that the HVO was only legal military force in Herzeg-Bosnia (what the HVO referred to areas under their control) and stated that "all orders from TO [Territorial Defence] command (of Bosnia and Herzegovina are invalid, and are to be considered illegal on this territory.18 This subsequently broke Croat-Bosniak relations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and between the states of the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.19

On 10 April 1992, Mate Boban decreed that the Bosnian Territorial Defence (TO), which had been created the day before, was illegal on self-proclaimed Croat territory. On 11 May, Tihomir Blaškić declared the TO illegal on the territory of the Kiseljak municipality.10

In June 1992 the focus switched to Novi Travnik and Gornji Vakuf where the Croat Defence Council (HVO) efforts to gain control were resisted. On 18 June 1992 the Bosnian Territorial Defence in Novi Travnik received an ultimatum from the HVO which included demands to abolish existing Bosnia and Herzegovina institutions, establish the authority of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia and pledge allegiance to it, subordinate the Territorial Defense to the HVO and expel Muslim refugees, all within 24 hours. The attack was launched on 19 June. The elementary school and the Post Office were attacked and damaged.5 Armed incidents started to occur among Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the summer of 1992 between the HVO and the HOS.19 The HVO favoured an ethnic partition of the republic while the HOS fought together with the Muslims for the territorial integrity of the state.19 On 9 August 1992, Blaž Kraljević, leader of the Croatian Defence Forces, and eight of his staff were assassinated by members of HVO under the command of Mladen Naletilić and lead to the dissolution of the primary group in support of a Bosniak-Croat alliance.1519

On 6 July 1992, the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia was formally declared as an independent state by Boban. Izetbegović previously came under intense pressure from Tuđman to agree for Bosnia and Herzegovina to be in a confederation with Croatia. Because doing so would cripple reconciliation between Bosniaks and Serbs, make the return of Bosniak refugees to eastern Bosnia impossible and for other reasons, Izetbegović opposed. Two weeks prior Boban's declaration, Izetbegović received an ultimatum from Boban warning that if he did not proclaim a confederation with Tuđman that Croatian forces would not help defend Sarajevo from strongholds as close as 25 miles away.20 Ironically two weeks later on 21 July 1992, Tuđman and Izetbegović signed a pact which placed the HVO under the command of Bosnian Territorial Defence Forces.2122

On 7 September 1992, HVO demanded that the Bosniak militiamen withdraw from Croatian suburbs of Stup, Bare, Azići, Otes, Dogladi and parts of Nedzarici in Sarajevo and issued an ultimatum.23 They denied that it was a general threat to Bosnian government forces throughout the country and claimed that Bosniak militiamen killed six of their soldiers, and looted and torched houses in Stup. The Bosniaks stated that the local Croatian warlord made an arrangement with Serb commanders to allow Serb and Croat civilians to be evacuated, often for ransom, but not Bosniaks.24 At the end of September, Tuđman and Izetbegović met to discuss the possibility of establishing military coordination against Bosnian Serb forces.22

The situation became more serious in October 1992 when Croat forces attacked Bosniak civilian population in Prozor burning their homes and killing civilians. According to Jadranko Prlić indictment, HVO forces cleansed most of the Muslims from the town of Prozor and several surrounding villages.14

On 11 October 1992, Tuđman ordered HVO forces to pull out of Bosanski Brod,25 a town defended for seven months by a mixed force of Croats and Bosniaks, and it was occupied by Serb forces within hours.26 The Bosnian government suspected that a Croat-Serb cease-fire was brokered.26 On 25 October, Croat and Serb forces increased attacks on Bosniaks in many key towns in northern and central Bosnia. Croatians also attacked the town of Prozor, near Sarajevo.27 Croatian attacks on Bosnian troops and Bosniak civilians spread into the northern, western and southern sides of Sarajevo the next day. This severely strained, if not completely severed, the alliance that the Bosnian government had with Croatia.28

In the latter half of 1992, foreign Mujahideen hailing mainly from North Africa and the Middle East began to arrive in central Bosnia and set up camps for combatant training with the intent of helping their "Muslim brothers" against the Serbs.29 These foreign volunteers were primarily organized into an umbrella detachment of the 7th Muslim Brigade (made up of native Bosniaks) of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ARBiH) in Zenica.30 Initially, the Mujahideen gave basic necessities including food to local Muslims.29 When the Croat–Bosniak conflict began they joined the ARBiH in battles against the HVO.29

By November 1992, the HVO controlled about 20 percent of Bosnia and Herzegovina.18 By December 1992, much of Central Bosnia was in the hands of the Croats. The Croat forces had taken control of the municipalities of the Lašva Valley and had only met significant opposition in Novi Travnik and Ahmići.31 Bosniak authorities forbade Croats from leaving towns such as Bugojno and Zenica, and would periodically organise exchanges of local Croats for Muslims.30

The ICTY Trial Chamber in the Kordić and Čerkez case decided that the weight of the evidence points clearly to the persecution of Bosniak civilians in the Central Bosnian municipalities taken over by the Croat forces: Busovača, Novi Travnik, Vareš, Kiseljak, Vitez, Kreševo and Žepče. The persecution followed a consistent pattern in each municipality and demonstrated that the HVO had launched a campaign against the Bosniaks in them32 with the hope that the self-proclaimed Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia should secede from Bosnia and Herzegovina and with a view towards unification with Croatia.33

Until 1993 the HVO and the Bosnian Army (ARBiH) had been fighting side by side against the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) in some areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Even though armed confrontation and events like the Totić kidnappings strained the relationship between the HVO and ARBiH, the Croat-Bosniak alliance held in the Bihać pocket (northwest Bosnia) and the Bosanska Posavina (north), in which both were heavily outmatched by Serb forces.citation needed

Chronology

Gornji Vakuf shelling

On January 1993 Croat forces attacked Gornji Vakuf again in order to connect Herzegovina with Central Bosnia.14 Gornji Vakuf is a town to the south of the Lašva Valley and of strategic importance at a crossroads en route to Central Bosnia. It is 48 kilometres from Novi Travnik and about one hour's drive from Vitez in an armoured vehicle. For Croats it was a very important connection between the Lašva Valley and Herzegovina, two territories included in the self-proclaimed Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia. The Croat forces shelling reduced much of the historical oriental center of the town of Gornji Vakuf to rubble.34

On 10 January 1993, just before the outbreak of hostilities in Gornji Vakuf, the Croat Defence Council (HVO) commander Luka Šekerija, sent a "Military – Top Secret" request to Colonel Tihomir Blaškić and Dario Kordić, (later convicted by ICTY of war crimes and crimes against humanity i.e. ethnic cleansing) for rounds of mortar shells available at the ammunition factory in Vitez.35 Fighting then broke out in Gornji Vakuf on 11 January 1993, sparked by a bomb which had been placed by Croats in a Bosniak-owned hotel that had been used as a military headquarters. A general outbreak of fighting followed and there was heavy shelling of the town that night by Croat artillery.36

During cease-fire negotiations at the Britbat HQ in Gornji Vakuf, colonel Andrić, representing the HVO, demanded that the Bosnian forces lay down their arms and accept HVO control of the town, threatening that if they did not agree he would flatten Gornji Vakuf to the ground.3738 The HVO demands were not accepted by the Bosnian Army and the attack continued, followed by massacres on Bosnian Muslim civilians in the neighbouring villages of Bistrica, Uzričje, Duša (see also Duša massacre, Ždrimci and Hrasnica.3940 During the Lašva Valley ethnic cleansing it was surrounded by Croatian Army and Croatian Defence Council for seven months and attacked with heavy artillery and other weapons (tanks and snipers). Although Croats often cited it as a major reason for the attack on Gornji Vakuf, the commander of the British Britbat company claimed that there were no Muslim holy warriors in Gornji Vakuf (commonly known as Mujahideen) and that his soldiers had not seen any. The shelling campaign and the attackes during the war resulted in hundreds of either injured or killed, mostly Bosnian Muslim civilians.34

On the morning of 25 January 1993, Croat forces attacked the Bosniak part of the town of Busovača called Kadića Strana following the 20 January ultimatum. The attack included shelling from the surrounding hills. A loudspeaker called on Bosniaks to surrender. A police report shows that 43 people were massacred in Busovača in January and February 1993. The remaining Bosniaks (around 90 in all) were rounded up in the town square. Women and children (around 20 in total) were allowed to return home and the men (70 in all), some as young as 14–16 years, were loaded onto buses and taken to Kaonik camp. The violence continued after the January attack.41

Lašva Valley ethnic cleansing

Bodies of people killed in April 1993 around Vitez. (Photograph provided courtesy of the ICTY)

The Lašva Valley ethnic cleansing campaign against Bosniak civilians planned by the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia's political and military leadership from May 1992 to March 1993 and erupting the following April, was meant to implement objectives set forth by Croat nationalists in November 1991.10 The Lašva Valley's Bosniaks were subjected to persecution on political, racial and religious grounds,42 deliberately discriminated against in the context of a widespread attack on the region's civilian population43 and suffered mass murder, rape, imprisonment in camps, as well as the destruction of cultural sites and private property. This was often followed by anti-Bosniak propaganda, particularly in the municipalities of Vitez, Busovača, Novi Travnik and Kiseljak. Ahmići massacre in April 1993, was the culmination of the Lašva Valley ethnic cleansing, resulting in mass killing of Bosnian Muslim civilians in just a few hours.An estimate puts the death toll at 120. The youngest was a three-month-old baby, who was machine-gunned to death in his crib, and the oldest was a 96-year-old woman.citation needed It is the biggest massacre committed during the conflict between Croats and the Bosnian government.citation needed

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has ruled that these crimes amounted to crimes against humanity in numerous verdicts against Croat political and military leaders and soldiers, most notably Dario Kordić.44 Based on the evidence of numerous HVO attacks at that time, the ICTY Trial Chamber concluded in the Kordić and Čerkez case that by April 1993 Croat leadership had a common design or plan conceived and executed to ethnically cleanse Bosniaks from the Lašva Valley. Dario Kordić, as the local political leader, was found to be the planner and instigator of this plan.45 According to the Sarajevo-based Research and Documentation Center (IDC), around 2,000 Bosniaks from the Lašva Valley are missing or were killed during this period.46 The events inspired the British television drama serial Warriors.citation needed

War in Herzegovina

The Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia took control of many municipal governments and services in Herzegovina as well, removing or marginalising local Bosniak leaders. Herzeg-Bosnia took control of the media and imposed Croatian ideas and propaganda. Croatian symbols and currency were introduced, and Croatian curricula and the Croatian language were introduced in schools. Many Bosniaks and Serbs were removed from positions in government and private business; humanitarian aid was managed and distributed to the Bosniaks' and Serbs' disadvantage; and Bosniaks in general were increasingly harassed. Many of them were deported into concentration camps: Heliodrom, Dretelj, Gabela, Vojno and Šunje.4447not in citation given

According to ICTY judgment in Naletilić-Martinović case Croat forces attacked the villages of Sovici and Doljani, about 50 kilometres (31 mi) north of Mostar in the morning on 17 April 1993. The attack was part of a larger HVO offensive aimed at taking Jablanica, the main Bosnian Muslim dominated town in the area. The HVO commanders had calculated that they needed two days to take Jablanica. The location of Sovici was of strategic significance for the HVO as it was on the way to Jablanica. For the Bosnian Army it was a gateway to the plateau of Risovac, which could create conditions for further progression towards the Adriatic coast. The larger HVO offensive on Jablanica had already started on 15 April 1993. The artillery destroyed the upper part of Sovici. The Bosnian Army was fighting back, but at about five p.m. the Bosnian Army commander in Sovici, surrendered. Approximately 70 to 75 soldiers surrendered. In total, at least 400 Bosnian Muslim civilians were detained. The HVO advance towards Jablanica was halted after a cease-fire agreement had been negotiated.48

Siege of Mostar

Mostar was surrounded by the Croat forces for nine months, and much of its historic city was severely destroyed in shelling including the famous Stari Most bridge.49 Slobodan Praljak, the commander of the Croatian Defence Council, is currently on trial at the ICTY for ordering the destruction of the bridge, among other charges.49

Mostar was divided into a Western part, which was dominated by the Croat forces and an Eastern part where the Army of Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was largely concentrated. However, the Bosnian Army had its headquarters in West Mostar in the basement of a building complex referred to as Vranica. In the early hours of 9 May 1993, the Croatian Defence Council attacked Mostar using artillery, mortars, heavy weapons and small arms. The HVO controlled all roads leading into Mostar and international organisations were denied access. Radio Mostar announced that all Bosniaks should hang out a white flag from their windows. The HVO attack had been well prepared and planned.50

The Croats took over the west side of the city and expelled thousands49 Bosniaks from the west side into the east side of the city. The HVO shelling reduced much of the east side of Mostar to rubble. The JNA (Yugoslav Army) demolished Carinski Bridge, Titov Bridge and Lucki Bridge over the river excluding the Stari Most. HVO forces (and its smaller divisions) engaged in a mass execution, ethnic cleansing and rape on the Bosniak people of the West Mostar and its surrounds and a fierce siege and shelling campaign on the Bosnian Government run East Mostar.citation needed HVO campaign resulted in thousands of injured and killed.49

In April 1993 and early summer 1993, the ARBiH 3rd Corps units launched a series of attacks against the HVO. On 16 April, in the village of Trusina, members of the ARBiH unit called the Zulfikar killed 18 Croat civilians and 4 Croat soldiers.5152 According to witness testimony, the unit rounded up a group of Croat civilians and captured soldiers. They then bound and shot them. A member of the Zulfikar unit, Rasema Handanović, admitted taking part in the murders under orders from commander Nihad Bojadžić who ordered the killing of the prisoners and was quoted as saying "not to leave any survivors".53

The June 1993 Offensives

In June 1993 further fighting broke out in Central Bosnia, some of it caused by the newly revitalized Bosnian Army.54 Battle of Žepče Further complications were caused with the incident between Croats and UNPROFOR known as The Convoy of Joy Incident. This convoy of aid supplies was made up of several hundred trucks, was seven kilometres in length and was bound for Tuzla. On 7 June 1993, two members of the delegation wrote to the European Community Monitor Mission (ECMM) at Zenica about their fears for the safety of the convoy when it reached the area of Travnik and Vitez in the light of threats made to it by Mate Boban (whom the delegation had met). As a result the ECMM decided to monitor the convoy. The convoy then made its way to Central Bosnia and the area of Novi Travnik. There it was stopped at a roadblock formed by a large crowd of Croat women at Rankovići, north of Novi Travnik. Eight of the drivers were shot and killed, vehicles were driven away and the convoy was looted by civilians and soldiers. Eventually the convoy was released. In defending the convoy Britbat shot and killed two HVO soldiers. The ICTY Trial Chamber concluded that the crowds which stopped the Convoy of Joy were under the control of Dario Kordić and colonel Blaškić.55

Bosnian Army attacked the HVO in the Travnik municipality in the first week of June. By 13 June, the Bosnian Army had taken Travnik and the surrounding villages.56 Several witnesses testified that 20,000 Croat refugees had come from Travnik as a result of the Bosnian Army offensive.55 However, according to an ECMM Report the first reports of ethnic cleansing and destruction were exaggerated. On 8 June, there was fighting in Guča Gora with reports of atrocities and destruction, the Catholic church in flames and thousands fleeing. These reports were investigated by two ECMM monitors. They found the church still standing and the claims of destruction to be exaggerated. The movement of population was organised by the HVO. According to report dated 9 June 1993 it is the first time that the Bosnian Army have taken the military initiative against the HVO in Central Bosnia. On all other occasions the Bosnian Army have responded to HVO aggression (Gornji Vakuf, Vitez and Mostar).57

On 9 June 1993 HVO retaliated in Novi Travnik.57 On 12–13 June 1993 the HVO attacked villages in the Kiseljak municipality, beginning with Tulica on 12 June resulting in the deaths of at least twelve men and women and the destruction of the village. The attack began with heavy shelling of the village followed by an infantry attack from several directions. The surviving men were loaded onto a truck and taken to Kiseljak barracks. Shortly after the attack on Tulica, the associated villages of Han Ploča and Grahovci were also subject to attack. The HVO issued an ultimatum to the Bosniaks to surrender their weapons. After the ultimatum expired, the village was shelled by the HVO and the Serb Army, and houses were set on fire. An HVO infantry attack followed. Having come into the village, HVO soldiers lined up three Bosniak men against a wall and shot them. In all 64 people were killed during the attack or after HVO capture. The ICTY Trial Chamber found that the attacks on Tulica and Han Ploca–Grahovci were part of a sustained HVO attack in which civilians were murdered and subjected to inhumane treatment.58

The series of attacks culminated in a massive attack between 7 June and 13 June 1993 within, among others, the municipalities of Kakanj, Travnik and Zenica.59 The ABiH 3rd Corps attacked towns and villages, subjecting predominantly Bosnian Croat, but also Bosnian Serb civilians, including women, children, the elderly and the infirm, to willful killings and serious injuries.29 Further, in the course of, or after the attacks, at least 200 Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Serb civilians were killed and many more were wounded or harmed while attempting to hide or escape.29 In a music school turned detention centre, 47 Bosnian Croats were held without food for the first week and in a cellar with no light for 45 days, and were beaten with telephone cables, batons and shovel handles during interrogations.30 In several instances, ABiH forces killed HVO troops after their surrender.29

Foreign fighters

Muslim volunteers from different countries arrived in the second half of 1992 with the aim of fighting for Islam and on behalf of Muslims. They were called Mujahideen.60 In 1993, some of the groups were accused of massacres and war crimes against the Croat population in central Bosnia, including the villages of Miletici (24 April), Maljine (8 June), Doljani (27–28 June), Bistrica (August), Kriz and Uzdol (14 September), and Kopijari (21 October), with an estimated number of at least 120 killed.30 In many cases, cruel mutilations were found on the corpses, said to be the work of the Mujahideen.30 On 16 September 1993 the Bosnian Army condemned the killings carried out in Kriz and Uzdol and promised to persecute those responsible.30 On 15 October 1993, the United Nations Special Rapporteur wrote to Izetbegović, lauding the effort and requested that the other killings be also investigated.30 He also requested to know what procedures existed to subordinate irregular troops to the Bosnian Army's command structure and what actions were used to enforce discipline.30 On 22 October 1993, Izetbegović responded and in his letter condemned the killings and assured that an investigation had begun.30 In 2007, Bosnia's government revoked the citizenships of hundreds of former Mujadideen.61

Some external fighters included British volunteers as well as other numerous individuals from the cultural area of Western Christianity, both Catholics and Protestants fought as volunteers for the Croats. Dutch, American, Irish, Polish, Australian, New Zealand, French, Swedish, German, Hungarian, Norwegian, Canadian and Finnish volunteers were organized into the Croatian 103rd (International) Infantry Brigade. There was also a special Italian unit, the Garibaldi battalion.62 and one for the French, the groupe Jacques Doriot.62 Volunteers from Germany and Austria were also present, fighting for the Croatian Defence Forces (HOS) paramilitary group. This armed group was organized by the Croatian Party of Rights (HSP), a right-wing party, and was disbanded by the legal Croatian authorities in late 1992. HSP's leader, Dobroslav Paraga was later charged with treason by the Croatian authorities.

Swedish Jackie Arklöv fought in Bosnia and was later charged with war crimes upon his return to Sweden. Later he confessed he committed war crimes on Bosniak civilians in the Croatian camps Heliodrom and Dretelj as a member of Croat forces.63

Neretva 93

Bosnian Army launched an operation known as Operation Neretva '93 against the Croatian Defence Council and Croatian Army in September 1993 in order to end the siege of Mostar and to recapture areas of Herzegovina, which were included in self-proclaimed Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia. The operation was stopped by Bosnian authorities after it received the information about the massacre on Croat civilians in the village of Grabovica (see also Massacre in Grabovica).citation needed

During the night of 8/9 September, at least 33 Croat villagers in Grabovica were killed by members of the 9th Brigade and unidentified members of the ARBiH.6465 Three combatants, Nihad Vlahovljak, Haris Rajkić and Sead Karagić were convicted for taking part in the killings.65 A few days later on 14 September, in the village of Uzdol, it was reported that 29 Croat civilians and one prisoner of war were killed by the Prozor Independent Battalion and members of the local police force during the clash between HVO and ABiH.66

Aftermath

The Croat-Bosniak war officially ended on 23 February 1994 when the Commander of HVO, general Ante Roso and commander of Bosnian Army, general Rasim Delić, signed a ceasefire agreement in Zagreb.clarification needed In March 1994 a peace agreement mediated by the USA between the warring Croats (represented by Republic of Croatia) and Bosnia and Herzegovina was signed in Washington and Vienna. It is known as the Washington Agreement. Under this agreement, the combined territory held by the Croat and Bosnian government forces was divided into ten autonomous cantons, establishing the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the start of the war, the HVO had controlled more than 20 percent of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina; just before the signing of the Washington agreement, however, it was less than 10 percent.1

The Croat leadership (Jadranko Prlić, Bruno Stojić, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petković, Valentin Ćorić and Berislav Pušić) were convicted by ICTY in first-instance judgement to 111 years of prison on May 29, 2013. The charges included crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva conventions and violations of the laws and customs of war. Franjo Tuđman was also designated as a part of joint criminal enterprise against Bosniak population and Bosnian and Herzegovina.67

Dario Kordić, political leader of Croats in Central Bosnia was convicted of the crimes against humanity in Central Bosnia i.e. ethnic cleansing and sentenced to 25 years in prison.44

ABiH Brigadier General Enver Hadžihasanović along with former brigade Chief of Staff and commander Amir Kubura was convicted for failing to take necessary and reasonable measures to prevent or punish several crimes committed by forces under their command in central Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993 and the beginning of 1994. General Hadžihasanović was sentenced to three years and six months of imprisonment on 22 April 2008 by the Appeals Chamber. Kubura was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. 6869

Bosnian commander Sefer Halilović was charged with one count of violation of the laws and customs of war on the basis of superior criminal responsibility of the incidents during Operation Neretva '93 and found not guilty.70 General Mehmed Alagić was indicted by the ICTY but died in 2003.71

Croatia's president Ivo Josipović made an official visit to Bosnia in April 2010 during which he expressed a "deep regret" for Croatia's contribution "to the deaths of people and divisions" that still exists in the Bosnia and Herzegovina.72

See also

Gallery

External links

Indictments and judgments

Related films

Notes

  1. ^ a b Magaš (2001), p. 66
  2. ^ "IT-98-34-T, the Prosecutor versus Naletilic and Martinovic". ICTY. 17 July 2002. Retrieved 2007-09-25. 
  3. ^ www.vojska.net Hrvatsko Vijeće Obrane - HVO : Ustroj 1995.
  4. ^ www.vojska.net Armija RBiH - 1994: Organizacija
  5. ^ a b Kordić and Čerkez judgement, p. 153
  6. ^ Silber, L (1997), Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation. Penguin Books, p.185
  7. ^ Malcolm, Noel (1994). Bosnia A Short History. New York University Press. ISBN 0-8147-5520-8. Pages 87–89; 123
  8. ^ "ICTY: Conflict between Bosnia and Croatia". 
  9. ^ RDC - Research results (2007) - Human Losses in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1991–1995 [1]
  10. ^ a b c d "ICTY: Blaškić verdict - A. The Lasva Valley: May 1992 – January 1993t". 
  11. ^ "ICTY: Naletilić and Martinović verdict - A. Historical background". 
  12. ^ "Plans for a 'Greater Croatia' (document)". Bosnian Report. 1 (Bosnian Institute). November–December 1997. 
  13. ^ Kordić and Čerkez judgement, p. 348
  14. ^ a b c "ICTY: Prlić et al. (IT-04-74)". 
  15. ^ a b Ramet (2006), p. 434
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References

Books

  • Lukic, Rénéo; Lynch, Allen (1996). Europe From the Balkans to the Urals: The Disintegration of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-829200-7. 
  • Magaš, Branka; Žanić, Ivo (2001). The War in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina 1991–1995. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-7146-5204-0. 
  • Ramet, Sabrina P. (2002). Balkan Babel: The Disintegration of Yugoslavia from the Death of Tito to the Fall of Milošević. Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-3987-1. 
  • Ramet, Sabrina P. (2006). The Three Yugoslavias: State-Building and Legitimation, 1918–2004. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-271-01629-9. 

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