The Referral Bench grants the application of the Chief Prosecutor and refers the trial for the crimes in the Medak pocket in 1993 to Croatian courts

Rahim Ademi in the courtroomRahim Ademi in the courtroom

The Rahim Ademi and Mirko Norac case has been referred to the Croatian courts in a decision issued by the Referral Bench. This is the first case to be referred to Croatia by the ICTY.

Ademi and Norac have been charged with the crimes committed against Serb civilians in the Medak pocket near Gospic in the fall of 1993. At the time, Norac commanded the 9th Guards Brigade of the Croatian Army, while Ademi was the commander of all the units in the Gospic area.

After his voluntary surrender to the ICTY in 2001, Ademi was granted provisional release pending trial. Norac was handed over by Croatia to enter his plea in 2004 and then was returned to Croatia where he is serving a sentence for other crimes.

Having found that the accused would have a fair trial in Croatia and that the witnesses will be accorded the appropriate protection, the Referral Bench granted the application of the prosecution to refer the case. The Bench notes, however, that it expects regular reports from the Prosecutor on the development of the proceedings in Croatia (the first one is due in six weeks and thereafter every three months). The Tribunal has an ongoing capacity to have a case recalled to the Hague, the chamber noted.

Carla Del Ponte's office is to hand over all the evidence and material supporting the indictment to the Croatian Public Prosecutor's Office within 30 days.

After the Chief Prosecutor withdrew her application to refer the Vukovar trial to Croatia or Serbia-Montenegro, the Ademi/Norac case remained the only case for which the referral to Croatia was sought. All the other cases in which referral was applied for concern the crimes in BH and the prosecution applied for referral to the BH courts (although in some cases the defense counsel have applied to have the trial referred to Serbia or Croatia).

Rahim Ademi in the courtroom
Mirko Norac in the courtroom