Will Six Bosnian Croats Convicted of War Crimes Lose Military Decorations?

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, January 19, 2018 – The chairman of the Commission for Military Decorations and Honours, retired general Marijan Mareković, said on Friday that the commission had to date not received any requests to strip the six Bosnian Croats of their decorations, who were sentenced by the UN war crimes tribunal for ex-Yugoslavia for war crimes in a 1993 Croat-Bosniak conflict.

Mareković answered in the negative when asked if anyone had requested that the commission strip the convicts of their decorations. He also believes that everything that had to be said about the case has been said as the six Bosnian Croat military and political leaders received their decorations for defending Croatia against the Greater Serbia aggression.

Requests for stripping the six Bosnian Croats of their decorations appeared after the UN tribunal upheld trial court verdicts against them.

The Chief of the Main Staff of the Bosnian Croat army HVO, Milivoj Petković, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, General Slobodan Praljak was sentenced to 20 years, Military Police Commander Valentin Ćorić was given 16 years, and the head of the Office for Prison of War Exchanges, Berislav Pušić, received 10 years. The appeal chamber also upheld the verdict of 25 years in prison for Herceg-Bosna Prime Minister Jadranko Prlić and the verdict of 20 years in prison for Defence Minister Bruno Stojić.

After the verdicts, President and Armed Forces Supreme Commander Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said that the six “were decorated for the defence against the Greater Serbia aggression” and that she would not strip them of their decorations. “This has not been the practice so far, except in cases of rulings by domestic courts,” she said at the time.

Under the Act on Decorations and Honours, the President of the Republic, acting at the proposal of the State Commission for Decorations and Honours or on their own initiative, shall strip a person of their decoration or honour if the recipient has acted contrary to the legal order or moral principles of the Republic of Croatia.

That initiative may also be taken by the parliament, the government, diplomatic, consular and other offices in Croatia or abroad, ministries and other government agencies, political parties, religious communities, civil associations and other legal persons, as well as by citizens, through some of those stakeholders.

Article 16 of the Rules on Decorations and Honours states explicitly that the State Commission shall suggest stripping recipients of military decorations if they receive a final and unconditional verdict of at least three years in prison.

The State Commission consists of two sub-commissions, one on civilian decorations and honours, chaired by Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts president Zvonko Kusić, and one on military decorations, chaired by Mareković.


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