Practice Relating to Rule 128. Release and Return of Persons Deprived of Their Liberty
Croatia’s LOAC Compendium (1991) states that “unjustified delay in repatriation of POWs [prisoners of war]” falls under “grave breaches (war crimes)”.
Croatia’s Criminal Code (1997) provides:
Whoever in violation of the rules of international law, after the termination of a war or armed conflict, orders or imposes an unjustifiable delay in the repatriation of prisoners of war or civilians shall be punished.
A communiqué issued by the Croatian Ministry of Defence after the operation in Western Slavonia in 1995, stated that during the armed conflict in Croatia, the captured combatants of the adverse party entitled to amnesty were released and, depending on their choice, were “allowed to choose either to stay in Croatia as peaceful citizens or to leave the country”.