The Registry has petitioned the Appeals Chamber to order Slobodan Praljak to pay the debt amounting to 2.8 million dollars. The amount has been paid to Praljak during the trial for his defense team the legal aid fund

Slobodan Praljak in the courtroomSlobodan Praljak in the courtroom

Of all the denizens of the UN Detention Unit in Scheveningen, General Slobodan Praljak has the largest debt. According to the Registry’s latest motion, Praljak owes the Tribunal 2.8 million Euros. In December 2013 the Registry notified Praljak he could decide within 30 days whether he wanted to pay the amount in full or in installments. Since Praljak has failed to respond, the Registry has now asked Judge Theodor Meron’s Appeals Chamber to order the accused to pay the debt.

The motion notes that on 13 December 2013 Praljak was given a detailed list of his defense expenses from the time of his arrival in The Hague in April 2004 to July 2013 when he was denied access to legal aid. According to the final calculation, the Tribunal has paid to Praljak’s defense team a total of 2,807,611 Euros. In August 2012, the Registry issued an invoice to Praljak in the amount of 3,293,000 Euros: in the meantime the errors in the calculation were corrected and the debt was reduced by more than half a million Euros.

On his arrival in the UN Detention Unit in April 2004, Praljak stated that he would pay for his own defense, only to change his mind and to ask the Tribunal to cover the costs of his defense because he was ‘indigent’. After the Trial Chamber’s intervention, Praljak was granted funds. The Registry then launched a comprehensive investigation establishing not only that Praljak was not indigent, but that had a disposable income of at least 6,456,000 Euros. The figure was obtained after the estimated cost of living for Praljak, his wife and other family members was subtracted from the money Praljak had at his disposal.

Lawyers Bozidar Kovacic and Nika Pinter represented Praljak for the most part of the trial. When the defense case drew to a close, Natasa Faveau-Ivanovic was appointed as his co-counsel. In May 2013, Praljak was sentenced to 20 years for the crimes against Muslims and other non-Croats in Herceg Bosna. Five other former Herceg Bosna officials were found guilty in the same judgment of the same crimes: Jadranko Prlic, Bruno Stojic, Milivoj Petkovic, Valentic Coric and Berislav Pusic. The case is currently under appeal.