Croatian Criminal in Bosnia and Herzegovina Jadranko Prlić -

Period: Yugoslav Wars

Region: Bosnia and Herzegovina

Croatian Criminal in Bosnia and Herzegovina Jadranko Prlić

Jadranko Prlić (1959.) is a former paramilitary and civilian high-ranking official of the Croatian parastate in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the first half of the 1990s. He was the supreme commander of all Croatian paramilitary forces in BiH, the so-called Croatian Defense Council (HVO).

He had a significant contribution to the persecution, looting, killing of civilians, and ethnic cleansing of the non-Croat population in BiH during the 1992-1995 armed conflicts.

He was indicted before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at the beginning of the 21st century, but only for the crimes against Muslims, while crimes against Serbs were excluded from the indictment. The trial of him and five other so-called officials of HRHB took place before the Hague Tribunal which referred to it as a joint criminal enterprise.

He was sentenced on November 29, 2017, in a second instance verdict before the Council of the Hague Tribunal to 25 years in prison, and is serving his sentence in Great Britain.

Following the end of the armed conflicts in BiH, Jadranko Prlić performed several important duties in the administration and state administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Minister of Foreign Affairs of BiH, and Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH.



Jadranko Prlić was born on June 10, 1959, in Djakovo in eastern Slavonia (then FR Croatia, SFRY) to father Mile and mother Milica.

He is married to Ankica Prlić and has two daughters with her: Matea and Andrijana. It is interesting that during 2016-to 2020, his wife Ankica was also involved in numerous financial frauds, and corruption, among others in the Post Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The wealth of Jadranko Prlić's family is estimated at tens of millions of euros, which they accumulated through their companies and rigged tenders at the beginning of the 21st century, gaining great wealth not only in Herzegovina but also in Split and Zagreb.

Education and career

He enrolled in studies in Mostar, where he graduated in 1984, and in the following years he first received his master's degree in Sarajevo and then defended his doctoral dissertation at the Sarajevo Faculty of Economics.
In Mostar, he was a full professor at two faculties: Law and Economics.

Entering politics

In the late 1980s, he was on the Executive Board of the City of Mostar, the largest city in Herzegovina. He was then a member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. Later, he came to high political positions as a young and promising staff, so he became vice president of the Executive Council of the FR of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in December 1990 he became the acting president of that political body.


Jadranko Prilić published several books:
• "Return to Europe: Foreign Policy in the Post-Conflict Period", published in 2002 in Sarajevo.
• "Fluctuating Exchange Rate Policy", published in 1990 in Sarajevo.
• "Contributions to the History of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna", over 2,000 pages, published in 2017.



In the town of Grude in the west of Herzegovina, an area considered as the strongest Croatian-Ustasha core during the Second World War, the so-called Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna was proclaimed on 18th November 1991. It was a Croatian parastate where its leading officials aimed to unite with the Republic of Croatia and make it an ethnically and religiously pure entity, something similar to the 1939 request for the territorial integrity of the Banate of Croatia.

In the spring of 1992, armed conflicts began on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, when, at first, Croats and Muslims fought together against Serbs and the Yugoslav Army, which quickly fell apart.

On May 15, 1992, Mate Boban, the first president of the so-called HRHB appointed Jadranko Prlić to be the Minister of Finance in the Government of the Croatian parastate, and on August 14, Prlić was appointed Supreme Commander of the so-called Croatian Defense Council (HVO). In November 1993, Jadranko Prlić became the so-called Prime Minister of the Croatian Republic of Herceg Bosna. In that place, Jadranko Prlić became the most powerful person in the so-called Herceg Bosna, where he tarnished the fame of Mate Boban.

Witness and serbian victim of Capljina
Dr Olga Drasko, mother of 3 children

In 1992, throughout the entire Croatian-controlled territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, mass killings of civilians were organized and concentration camps established, such as Heliodrom, Ljubuški, Dretelj, Odžak, Orašje, Derventa, Brčko, Posušje, Mostar, Čapljina, etc. Also, a large number of Serb citizens were robbed, and women were raped en masse, both in their homes and in concentration camps. Jadranko Prlić had the authority to establish and close concentration camps.

He issued orders to members of the HVO and HOS who put his ideas into action. He was in constant contact with the military and civilian leadership of the Republic of Croatia in Zagreb and Split, with whom he built strong ties, believing that the so-called criminal project of Herceg Bosna will succeed.

Bosnian-Herzegovinian Serbs have repeatedly testified about the crimes of Croatian forces in BiH, such as Dr. Olga Draško, Slobodan Zurovac, Dušan Zurovac, Milorad Pajčin, Tunde Fetezer-Benković.  All of them were subjected to horrific torture in Croatian casemates from 1992 -to 1995

In June 1992, the so-called Croatian forces of the HVO, together with the Army of the Republic of Croatia, carried out the criminal action "Čagalj", when the region of Neretva valley was ethnically cleansed of Serbs. Later, on the day of Saint Demetrius of the same year, they launched large-scale aggression against Nevesinje and eastern Herzegovina, but the Army of the Republic of Srpska managed to resist.

In the summer of 1992, journalists from ZDF - German television made a report in the town of Čapljina, where they recorded the fascist greetings of Herzegovinian Croats, as well as statements by members of the HOS and HVO.



After the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement in the American federal state of Ohio on November 21, 1995, the Bosnian-Herzegovinian war ended. One of the important points of the agreement was the abolition of the so-called Croatian Republic of Herceg Bosna, which was done only after nine months. This decision was perceived by the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Croats as a betrayal of the official policy of Zagreb and Croatian president Franjo Tudjman, who was a representative at that peace summit. The Muslim-Croat Federation of BiH was created.

In the first post-war elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina in September 1996, Jadranko Prlić was the candidate ahead of the HDZ of Bosnia and Herzegovina, when the party won a majority in four BiH cantons. At the beginning of January 1997, when the new government in Bosnia and Herzegovina was formed, he was given a very important position as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was the case until February 22, 2001, when he was given the new position of Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations.

Prilić and Ivica Račan on Zagreb fair

He left the HDZ BiH and founded the Pro-European Party in 2000, with which he did not have much success.
On December 14, 2001, Jadranko Prlić was in the Dutch town of The Hague, where he made several grave accusations against the HDZ BiH party, of which he was a member for many years.

- "I have already said, and I repeat, that these forces during the war and after the war had a strong admixture of clerical-fascist elements. I am aware of the fact that I immediately got the Church and others against me, but I don’t care. I want in this fight, not to win, but to lead my people and Bosnia and Herzegovina on the path that is possible. You need to punish those fascists and I will say what those forces are,” Prlić told Hague investigators at a hotel.



Despite the testimony, Hague investigators forwarded the criminal lawsuit to the Prosecutor's Office, which resulted in the arrest of Prlić and five other close associates, high-ranking officials of the Croatian parastate in BiH - Herceg Bosna.

They were arrested in 2004 and taken to the Hague tribunal's detention unit, where for nine years, they were tried for war crimes, violations of the laws or customs of war, persecution, deportation, killing civilians, confiscation of property, looting, forced labor, establishing concentration camps, cruel treatment of prisoners of war, rape, and ethnic cleansing of the Muslim population.

Accusations of crimes against Serbs were not included in this indictment against Jadranko Prlić, although the Prosecutor's Office of the Republika Srpska submitted evidence of over 1,200 pages for involvement in serious crimes.

Jadranko Prlić in the Hague court

Jadranko Prlić was arrested in March 2004, and the trial before the Hague Tribunal began on April 26 of that year, when the judge was Jean-Claude Antonetti, while the final word was given in March 2011. The international prosecutor has brought in more than 140 prosecution witnesses and the defense 65. With nearly 5,000 pieces of evidence presented in the case, this trial is considered one of the longest in the tribunal's history.

The first-instance verdict was pronounced on May 29, 2013, and it stated that he was guilty on all counts of the indictment, and the sentence was 25 years in prison. This verdict was later confirmed in November 2017 in the second instance verdict. The court also ruled that Prlić was serving his sentence in the United Kingdom.

The Council of the Hague Tribunal stated in the verdict that Jadranko Prlić was at the head of the Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE) in the early 1990s in Bosnia and Herzegovina. By the way, six representatives of  Bosnia-Herzegovinian Croats received a final sentence of 111 years in prison.

1990S WAR

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