Jadranko Prlic was born on 10 June 1959 in Djakovo, in the Socialist Republic of Croatia. He obtained his doctorate in Economics at Sarajevo University and was a Professor at the University of Mostar In 1989, he became Vice-President of the Government of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and, in late 1990 became its interim President. On 15 May 1992, he was appointed head of the Department of Finance of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO), and on 14 August 1992, he was appointed overall President of the executive, administrative and military organs of the HVO.
In August 1993 he became Prime Minister of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna then Vice President of the Government and Minister of Defence of the Republic of Herceg-Bosna . From June 1994 to January 1996, he was Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of the Republic of Herceg-Bosna , and Foreign Affairs Minister, from January 1996 to February 2001.
According to the indictment, on or before 18 November 1991, and until April 1994,Jadranko Prlic established and participated in a joint criminal enterprise whose aim was to recreate within the boundaries of Croatian Banovina, an ethnically pure “Greater Croatia”. In pursuing this aim, during the siege of Mostar, he was reported to have incited political, ethnic and religious hatred and to have had recourse to force, intimidation and terror, notably by mass arrests during which people were killed. He reportedly participated in the establishment and expansion of a system of concentration camps and other detention centres. He also was said to have inflicted cruel treatment on Bosnian Muslims, by arranging for their expulsion and forced transfer and by submitting those imprisoned to forced labour.
The same indictment alleged that, from May 1992 as a head of the HVO, he participated in the ethnic cleansing of the town and municipality of Prozor, of the municipality of Gorjni Vakif, of the towns of Sovici and Doljani, and of the municipality of Mostar, notably by attacking Bosnian Muslims, by the pillage and theft of their property, by massive arrests and by inflicting upon them cruel treatment, sexual violence, killings and other forms of persecution.
Between September 1992 and April 1994, the HVO used the Heliodrom Camp, just south of Mostar, as a detention centre where the Bosnian Muslims arrested in Mostar were detained. The prison population was estimated at up to a maximum of about 6,000 at any one time, with detainees being held in inhumane conditions. Between April 1993 and March 1994, the Vojno and Ljubuski Camps, north of Mostar, were also used to hold Bosnian Muslims in detention. Detainees were often subjected to particularly severe mistreatment and used as forced labour, before being deported.
Throughout the year 1993, most of the Bosnian Muslim men in the municipalities of Stolac and Capljina, were arrested and detained in harsh conditions with most of them being killed, whilst the Bosnian Muslim women, children and elderly were systematically forced from their homes which were subsequently destroyed.
From April to September 1993, the HVO used the Dretelj District Military Prison to hold arrested and captured Serbs and about 2700 Bosnian Muslim men. The detainees were subjected to beatings and cruel treatment; the HVO acts and practices resulted in the serious injury and occasional death of many Bosnian Muslim detainees. The Gabela District Military Prison was used in the same way, from 8 June 1993 to April 1994. During the principal time of its use, the HVO, at any one time, confined there about 1,200 Muslim men, including boys younger than age sixteen and men older than sixty, irrespective of their civilian or military status. Detainees were subjected to beatings and cruel treatment. The HVO acts and practices resulted in the deaths of at least six Bosnian Muslim detainees. Many Bosnian Muslims detained at Gabela Prison were subsequently deported by the HVO authorities to other countries. In the municipality of Vares, the HVO used two schools as detention centres, where Bosnian Muslim men were detained in comparable conditions.
Jadranko Prlic voluntarily surrendered to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on 5 April 2004.