Ministers Comment on War Criminal's Lecture to Students in Zagreb

By 4 April 2019

ZAGREB, April 4, 2019 - A lecture given by convicted war criminal Dario Kordić to students in Zagreb earlier this week has met with criticism and condemnation from activists in Zagreb and Bosnia and Herzegovina's Party of Democratic Action (SDA), and when asked for a comment, Public Administration Minister Lovro Kuščević said on Thursday that Kordić had served his prison term for war crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"There is a legal rule saying that no one has the right to judge a person for committing a crime after they have served a prison term for it,” Kuščević told reporters before a cabinet meeting.

"Kordić made his contribution to the war, and he obviously made mistakes. He served his time for the mistakes he made," Kuščević said.

Education and Science Minister Blaženka Divjak said that, having served his sentence, Kordić was rehabilitated in legal terms. "However, a message is sent not only through words but also through what someone does through their whole life," Divjak said, calling for more caution in such cases.

Kordić, a Bosnian Croat wartime official who was sentenced by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to 25 years in prison for war crimes against Bosniaks in central Bosnia, was released in 2014 after serving two-thirds of his prison term. In 2001, the trial chamber found him guilty of war crimes, including the Ahmići massacre and atrocities in the Lašva valley, giving him 25 years. The appeals chamber upheld the ruling in December 2004. On 8 June 2006, Kordić was transferred to Austria to serve his sentence there. He and another nine Bosnian Croat political and military officials surrendered to the ICTY on 6 October 1997, and the time he spent in detention was credited to his sentence.

His lecture in a Zagreb student dormitory was organised by student chaplain Damir Stojić. Kordić's speech was interrupted by a group of students who booed him shouting that he was a war criminal.

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