Valentin Coric was born on 23 June 1956 in the village of Paoca, in Citluk Municipality, in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He obtained a degree in engineering and served as Maintenance Director of the bauxite mines in Citluk. After joining the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia-Herzegovina (HDZ-BiH), he became a member of the Citluk Municipal Army Staff He was later named Commander of the military training centre at Krvavice, in the Republic of Croatia.
In April 1992, he was appointed Deputy for Security and Commander of the Military Police of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO). His position was later entitled "Chief of the Military Police Administration", and he continued in this position until 20 November 1993. In November 1993, he was appointed Minister of the Interior in the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna.
According to the indictment, on or before 18 November 1991, and until April 1994, Valentin Coric established and participated in a joint criminal enterprise whose aim was to recreate within the boundaries of Croatian Banovina, an ethnically pure “Greater Croatia”. In pursuing this aim, during the siege of Mostar, he was reported to have incited political, ethnic and religious hatred and to have had recourse to force, intimidation and terror, notably by mass arrests during which people were killed. He reportedly participated in the establishment and expansion of a system of concentration camps and other detention centres. He also was said to have inflicted cruel treatment on Bosnian Muslims, by arranging for their expulsion and forced transfer and by submitting those imprisoned to forced labour.
The same indictment alleged that, from May 1992 as a head of the HVO, he participated in the ethnic cleansing of the town and municipality of Prozor, of the municipality of Gorjni Vakif, of the towns of Sovici and Doljani, and of the municipality of Mostar, notably by attacking Bosnian Muslims, by the pillage and theft of their property, by massive arrests and by inflicting upon them cruel treatment, sexual violence, killings and other forms of persecution.
Between September 1992 and April 1994, the HVO used the Heliodrom Camp, just south of Mostar, as a detention centre where the Bosnian Muslims arrested in Mostar were detained. The prison population was estimated at up to a maximum of about 6,000 at any one time, with detainees being held in inhumane conditions. Between April 1993 and March 1994, the Vojno and Ljubuski Camps, north of Mostar, were also used to hold Bosnian Muslims in detention. Detainees were often subjected to particularly severe mistreatment and used as forced labour, before being deported.
Throughout the year 1993, most of the Bosnian Muslim men in the municipalities of Stolac and Capljina, were arrested and detained in harsh conditions with most of them being killed, whilst the Bosnian Muslim women, children and elderly were systematically forced from their homes which were subsequently destroyed
From April to September 1993, the HVO used the Dretelj District Military Prison to hold arrested and captured Serbs and about 2700 Bosnian Muslim men. The detainees were subjected to beatings and cruel treatment; the HVO acts and practices resulted in the serious injury and occasional death of many Bosnian Muslim detainees. The Gabela District Military Prison was used in the same way, from 8 June 1993 to April 1994. During the principal time of its use, the HVO, at any one time, confined there about 1,200 Muslim men, including boys younger than age sixteen and men older than sixty, irrespective of their civilian or military status. Detainees were subjected to beatings and cruel treatment. The HVO acts and practices resulted in the death or serious injury of many Bosnian Muslim detainees. Then, many Bosnian Muslims detained at Gabela Prison were deported by the HVO authorities to other countries. In the municipality of Vares, the HVO used two schools as detention centres, where Bosnian Muslim men were detained in comparable conditions.
Valentin Coric voluntarily surrendered to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on 5 April 2004.
Trial Watch would like to remind its users that any person charged by national or international authorities is presumed innocent until proven guilty.