Cerkez, Mario

Mario Čerkez was Commander of the Vitez Brigade of the Croatian Defence Council
(Bosnia-Herzegovina), from 1992 until May 1993.
Mario Čerkez held a decisive sway over the objectives and the political and military operations of these structures, playing a key role in the planning, organisation, promotion and implementation of a politico-military campaign of persecution and “ethnic cleansing” against the Bosnian Muslims, especially in the Lašva valley (attack and massacres in Ahmići and in the municipality of Busovača from 1992 until 1993).

Mario Čerkez was indicted on 30 September 1998 with Dario Kordić. Mario Čerkez surrendered on 6 October 1997 and on the same day was transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). On 8 October 1997 Mario Čerkez appeared before the Tribunal for the first time and pleaded not guilty to the 22 counts with which he was charged.

According to the Amended Indictment of 30 September 1998, Mario Čerkez was charged on the grounds of his individual criminal responsibility and superior criminal responsibility with crimes against humanity, violations of the laws or customs of war and grave breaches of the Geneva conventions.

On 26 February 2001, the Trial Chamber found M. Čerkez guilty on the basis of individual criminal responsibility and superior criminal responsibility for grave breaches of the Geneva conventions, violations of the laws or customs of war, and crimes against humanity. Mario Čerkez was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment.

On 17 December 2004, the Appeals Court imposed a new sentence of six years’ imprisonment on Mario Cerkez. Given that he had already served more than six years in prison, he had already been set free on 3 December 2004.

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