The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which sits in The Hague, announced today that Mladen Naletilić was transferred yesterday to detention in Italy.Also known as Tuta, Mr. Naletilić founded and commanded the convicts’ battalion, a military unit within the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) that operated in the area around the city of Mostar in 1993-94.Mr. Naletilić was convicted in 2003 of persecutions, unlawful labour, torture, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, the unlawful transfer of civilians, wanton destruction and plunder. His co-accused, Vinko Martinović, was also convicted and sentenced to 18 years’ jail.During the trial the ICTY heard how Mr. Naletilić was personally involved in forcibly removing about 400 Bosnian Muslims from Sovići and Doljani villages and then ordering that all their homes be burned to the ground. He also used prisoners of war to perform forced labour in the vicinity of his villa.The trial chamber found that Mr. Naletilić repeatedly caused great suffering to Muslims held at the Heliodrom detention centre, in Doljani and at the Tobacco Institute in Mostar.Italy is one of 15 European countries that have signed an agreement with the ICTY to enforce sentences imposed by the Tribunal on convicted individuals. 25 April 2008A Bosnian Croat military commander convicted by a United Nations war crimes tribunal for his role in the torture and persecutions of Muslims living in the Mostar area of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Balkan wars of the 1990s will serve the remainder of his 20-year sentence in Italy.
However, the new government led by President Sirisena has taken measures to meet the expectations of the international community on human rights issues.“We are confident of regaining the GSP plus and Germany has agreed to give us its fullest support after President Sirisena’s request,” Karunanayake said.Meanwhile Karunanayake said that during Sirisena’s Europe visit, the Sri Lankan president had invited investors from both Germany and Austria to invest in the country. Germany is confident Sri Lanka will regain the GSP plus trade concession from the European Union (EU) and the German Government will give its full support in that regard.A German diplomat told the Colombo Gazette that the process for Sri Lanka to regain GSP plus from the European Union will take some time and is likely to be completed by the end of this year. Meanwhile Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said Sri Lanka is confident of regaining key trade concessions from the EU this year and has counted on Germany for its support. The Xinhua news agency quoted Karunanayake as saying that President Maithripala Sirisena, who concluded a visit to Germany and Austria last week, had requested support from the German Government to regain GSP plus.The EU trade concessions was withdrawn from Sri Lanka after Sri Lanka failed to meet certain conditions on human rights issues in 2010 when Mahinda Rajapakse was the president. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the diplomat said that Sri Lanka has to meet some conditions to regain GSP plus and so far it has met some of them. A high level delegation from Austria and Germany would arrived in Sri Lanka in March and May to explore investment opportunities. (Colombo Gazette)