The State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday said that it had upheld an indictment for war crimes against retired Croatian Army and Croatian Defence Council (HVO) general Zlatan Mijo Jelic who is charged, amongst else, for participating in an ethnic cleansing campaign and the persecution of Bosniak civilians in the Mostar area as part of a "strategic objective of the Croatian people."
Jelic lives in Croatia and the indictment against him was raised by Bosnia and Herzegovina prosecutorial authorities in late 2015. The Court's press release notes that the indictment was confirmed on January 7, but the Court did not release this information until it was confirmed that Jelic and his defence counsel had received the decision, Hina was told.
Bosnia and Herzegovina prosecutorial authorities are treating Jelic as a fugitive as he is currently residing in Croatia, even though Jelic has denied these claims.
"I'm a retired Croatian Army general. I have Croatian citizenship and live in Croatia. I have never been on the run because I have nothing and no one to run from," Jelic said in December 2015 when the indictment was raised.
He announced then that if the indictment was upheld he would insist that the trial be conducted by the Croatian judiciary, adding that he was convinced that he would prove that all the charges against him were unfounded.
The upheld indictment states that in the period between May 1993 and the beginning of March 1994, during the armed conflict between Bosniak and Croat military units in Bosnia, Jelic, as commander of HVO units and the defence forces in Mostar participated in organising and executing an all-encompassing and systematic attack directed against Bosniak civilians in that town with the aim of achieving strategic objectives of the Croatian people through ethnic cleansing, unlawful detention of men in prisons and camps, taking men away for forced labour on front lines and using them as a live shield, and the forced expulsion of women, children and the elderly to territory under the control of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.