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Croatian President awards alleged war criminal despite involvement in Bosnian genocide


Photo of accused war criminal Zlatan Mijo Jelic

Croatian President, Zoran Milanovic, presented former general and alleged war criminal, Zlatan Mijo Jelic, an award for his service during the 1995 Croatian war of independence despite his involvement in the Bosnian genocide.

In 2016 the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia indicted Jelic for allegations of war crimes against Bosniaks in the city of Mostar between 1993 and 1994. They state that Jelic ordered the commander of the Croat-run detention camp in Mostar to force Bosniak detainees into labour work. This is estimated to have caused the death of at least 50 people and 188 were wounded. It is also claimed that some 40 people were physically abused and tortured by Croat forces.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia has reported that the Croatian Defense Council (HVO), was jointly responsible for the Bosnian genocide. During this more than 8,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys were killed. A further 25,000–30,000 Bosniak were forcibly displaced as the HVO as well as Serbian forces which intended to divide Bosnian and Herzegovinian territory into “Greater Croatia” and “Greater Serbia”.

On Tuesday he was award an honour for his service in Operation Storm in which Croatian forces defeated the rebel Serbian statelet, Republic of Serbian Krajina, and reclaimed territory which the Serbs had controlled since 1991. According to the Croatian Helsinki Committee, the operation saw the death of 677 civilians and over 200,000 Serbs fled Croatia.

Read more from Al Jazeera and Balkanin Insights 

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