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Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Mirko Vračević a/k/a Srbin

Court State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Case number KT-RZ 200/06 (Court Number X-KRN-06/300)
Decision title Indictment
Decision date 27 December 2006
  • Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Mirko Vračević (aka “Srbin”)
Categories Crimes against humanity, Torture
Keywords Crimes against humanity; detention; former Yugoslavia; murder; persecutions; rape; sexual violence; torture; Bijelo Polje; Vojno
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Mirko Vračević was born on 15 March 1945 in Donji Smrtići in Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was member of the Bijelo Polje Battalion of the Second Brigade of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO), and a guard in the Vojno prison facility which was set up by the HVO. In the period between July 1993 and March 1994, Vračević planned, instigated and perpetrated an attack conducted by the HVO against the Bosnian Muslims (Bosniak) residing in the municipality of Mostar. During that attack, 76 women, children and elderly were arrested and later kept in houses in Vojno village located in the Mostar municipality. Moreover, hundreds of men were kept in garages and cellars of houses where they were beaten and psychologically maltreated, and as a result, 16 of them died. During their detention, the Bosniak civilians did not have access to adequate food, clothing, drinking water or medical care.

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Procedural history

Mirko Vračević was arrested on 19 December 2006.

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Related developments

The case against Vračević has been joined with the case against Marko Radić et al. (X-KR-05/139).

On 1 December 2006, the indictment against Vračević and the other accused persons was confirmed.

On 26 January 2007, Vračević entered a not guilty plea.

On 26 March 2007, the trial commenced.

On 20 February 2009, the Trial Panel of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Court of BiH) pronounced the first-instance verdict, finding Vračević guilty of crimes against humanity and sentencing him to 14 years of imprisonment. The other accused, Marko Radić, Dragan Šunjić, and Damir Brekalo, were also found guilty for crimes against humanity and sentenced to 25 years long-term imprisonment, 21 years long-term imprisonment, and 20 years long-term imprisonment, respectively.

On 15 March 2010, the Panel of the Appellate Division of the Court of BiH handed down the second-instance verdict. After analysing the first-instance verdict, the Panel found the arguments filed by the defence well-grounded with respect to the essential violations of the criminal procedure, and therefore revoked the first-instance verdict and ordered a re-trial to be held before the Appellate Panel.

On 6 July 2010, the trial before the Appellate Panel commenced.

On 9 March 2011, the Appellate Panel also found Vračević, Radić, Šunjić, and Brekalo guiltyof crimes against humanity. In that regard, the Court sentenced Vračević to imprisonment of 12 years, Radić to long-term imprisonment of 21 years, Šunjić to imprisonment of 16 years, and Brekalo to 20 years of imprisonment.

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Legally relevant facts

Vračević, was member of the Bijelo Polje Battalion of the Second Brigade of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) and a guard at the Vojno prison facility located in the municipality of Mostar, southern Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The indictment issued on 27 December 2006 alleged that Vračević, during the period from July 1993 until March 1994, planned, instigated and personally perpetrated an attack as part of a widespread or systematic attack by HVO members against the Bosnian Muslims (Bosniak) living in the municipality of Mostar.  During that attack, 76 women, children and elderly were unlawfully arrested and detained in houses in the village of Vojno, while hundreds of men were kept in garages and cellars of houses where they were beaten and psychologically maltreated, as a result, 16 of them died (pp. 1-2).

The indictment also alleged that on an unknown day in September 1993, Vračević killed one detainee and caused serious bodily injuries to another during the transport of 50 detainees from Heliodrom concentration camp to Bijelo Polje to perform labour for the HVO forces in Bijelo Polje  (para. 2).

It was also alleged that during the period from 7 September until the end of November 1993, in Vojno camp, Vračević several times forced a Bosnian woman to have sex with him while using force and threatening her to kill her (para. 5).

Vračević was charged with crimes against humanity (pursuant to Article 172 of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina (CC of BiH)), in particular for acts of murder, unlawful imprisonment, torture, sexual violence, persecution, and other inhumane acts.

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Core legal questions

Can Vračević be charged with crimes against humanity?

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Specific legal rules and provisions

Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2003:

  • Article 29 - Accomplices

  • Article 172(1)(a), (e), (f), (g), (k), and (h) - Crimes against Humanity

  • Article 180 - Individual Criminal Responsibility

Criminal Procedure Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2006:

  • Article 35(2)(h) - Rights and Duties

  • Article 226(1) - Issuance of the indictment

  • Article 227 - Contents of the indictment
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Instruments cited

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Additional materials

Case Information - Radić Marko and Others’, Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina.

‘Mirko Vracevic’, TRIAL.

Radić et al. (Marko Radić, Dragan Šunjić, Damir Brekalo, Mriko Vračević)’, OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Logoraši: Mirko Vračević Je Bio Dio Lanca Zla’, Kliker, 21 December 2006.

‘Indictment confirmed in the case of Mirko Vračević’, Court of Bosnia & Herzegovina, 8 January 2007.

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Social media links

‘Vracevic charged with Vojno crimes’, Justice Report, 8 January 2007.

‘Mirko Vračević se izjasnio da nije kriv’, Klix, 26 January 2007.

Trial Of Serbian War Criminal Milorad Trbic, Charged With Genocide, to Continue Today Before Bosnian State Court’, Bosnia News, 27 November 2007.