Military facilities in Dretelj

Location: Čapljina

Importance of the locality:

The Dretelj facility was a site of suffering on two occasions, in 1992 and in 1993. In 1992, it was used as a detention site for Serbs. The camp was run by members of the Croat Defence Forces, HOS. The commander of the camp was Edib Buljubašić. The prisoners were subjected to harsh conditions with little food and water. They did not receive medical care, though the facility had a doctor, but he actually participated in the abuse. Sexual abuse of male and female prisoners was commonplace.After the camp controlled by HOS was shut down in August 1992 and following clashes between Bosniaks and Croats in 1993 in the territory of Herzegovina, HVO forces reopened the camp. In 1993, from April to October, Bosniaks from the wider Herzegovina region were detained at the site. In mid-July 1993, there were 2270 detainees in the camp. After the camp in Dretelj was closed in October, the detainees were transferred to other HVO-controlled camps in Herzegovina (Heliodrom near Mostar and Gabela near Čapljina).
Conditions in the camp were harsh, the prisoners were held in small and overcrowded facilities, with up to 570 held in a hangar of 30x10m.
The prisoners were subjected to torture and grave abuse. At least 5 persons died at the camp.

Entity: Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Ethnic group: Bosniaks, Serbs

Area that victims came from: Herzegovina

Responsibility: Croat Defence Forces in 1992, HVO and HVO Military Police in 1993.

Court trials:

The Norwegian Supreme Court convicted Mirsad Repak of crimes committed against Serbs in Dretelj in 1992.
The Court in Stockholm convicted Ahmet Makitan of crimes committed against Serbs in Dretelj in 1992.
The High Court in Denmark convicted Refik Šarić for war crimes committed in Dretelj in 1993. The Court in Stockholm convicted Jackie Arklov for crimes committed in Dretelj.
For crimes committed in Dretelj in 1992, the Court of BiH sentenced the following to 24 years in prison: Ivan Zelenika, Srećko Herceg, Edib Buljubašić, Ivan Medić and Marina Grubišić-Fejzić.
The Court of BiH confirmed the indictment against Željko Rodin for crimes committed in Dretelj.
Marinko Marić and Željko Rodin are currently being tried for crimes committed in Dretelj in 1993 at the County Court in Split.
On 29 November 2017, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) delivered the final judgement against six former leaders of the Croat Community of Herceg-Bosna, later the Republic of Herceg-Bosna, for crimes committed against Bosniaks and other non-Croats from 1993 to 1994. The ICTY sentenced Jadranko Prlić to 25 years in prison, former defence minister Bruno Stojić and commanders of the Croat Defence Council Slobodan Praljak and Milivoje Petković to 20 years each, Military Police commander Valentin Ćorić to 16 and head of the Office for Exchange of Prisoners Berislav Pušić to 10 years in prison.
The Cantonal Court in Mostar convicted Mijo Banović and Frano Vulić for war crimes committed in Dretelj.

Data source: ICTY, Court of BiH, County Court in Split, Cantonal Court in Mostar. (updated 06.12.2019)

Marked and photographed: 18.05.2016.


Updated: 25.02.2020


Army of Republic of Bosnia and Hercegovina - ARBiH
Security services command centre - CSB
Herzeg Bosnia - HB
Croat Defense Forces - HOS
Army of Croatia - HV
Croat Defense Council - HVO
Yugoslav National Army - JNA
International Crime Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia - ICTY
Ministry of Interior - MUP
People's Defense of the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia - NO APZB
Police station - SJB
Serb Army of Krajina - SVK
Territorial defense of Bosnia-Herzegovina - TO BiH
Army of Republic of Srpska - VRS
Army of Yugoslavia - VJ