Zlatko Aleksovski was arrested by Croatian authorities in Split on 8 June 1996. Although the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia authorized his extradition then, it did not take place until 28 April 1997 after political pressure had been asserted on Croatia by the USA.
Zlatko Aleksovski was accused of the following crimes:
- Violation of the laws and customs of war (art. 3 of the Statute;. outrages upon the personal dignity);
- Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (art. 2 of the Statute; inhuman treatment and wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health).
At his initial appearance before the Court, on 29 April 1997, he pleaded not guilty to all counts.
His trial started on 6 January 1998 and ended with the rendering of the judgment of the Trial Chamber on 25 June 1999. Zlatko Aleksovski was acquitted of the accusations of having committed Grave Breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, but found guilty of having violated the laws and customs of war in terms of both his individual criminal responsibility and his command responsibility. He was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment by the Trial Chamber. Since he had already been in provisional detention for that time, he was released immediately.
Following appeals by the prosecution as well as the defence, the Appeals Chamber of the ICTY ordered the immediate re-arrest and detention of Aleksovski on 9 February 2000.
The Appeals Chamber rendered its final decision on 24 March 2000 and sentenced Zlatko Aleksovski to seven years imprisonment, finding that the Trial Chamber had not sufficiently taken into account certain elements. The Appeals Chamber found that « he [Zlatko Aleksovski] was nonetheless the commander of the prison and as such the authority who could have prevented crimes in the prison and certainly should not have involved himself in them. An appropriate sentence should reflect these factors. There are no other mitigating circumstances in this case. » (§184).
On 22 September 2000 Zlatko Aleksovski was transferred to Finland in order to complete his prison sentence there.
He was released on 14 November 2001.
Trial Watch would like to remind its users that any person charged by national or international authorities is presumed innocent until proven guilty.