War Crimes Monitoring

Crime in Novska II

On 8 March 2010, the main hearing began at the Sisak County Court in the trial against Vide Damir Raguž and Željko Škledar, indicted for committing a war crime against civilians in Novska on 21 November 1991. On 16 April 2010, the defendant Vide Damir Raguž was found guilty by the first instance verdict and he was sentenced to 20 years in prison, whereas the defendant Željko Škledar was acquitted of charges. The session of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia was held on 10 July 2012. Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia quashed the verdict of Sisak County Court.

On 7 February 2013, the Zagreb County Count rendered the first-instance verdict in which Damir Vid Raguž and Željko Škledar were acquitted of the charges.

INDICTMENT (SUMMARY) The Indictment charges Vide Damir Raguž and Željko Škledar that on 21 November 1991 in Novska – as members of the 1st Brigade of the Croatian Army (HV), together with presently deceased Dubravko Leskovar and deceased Ante Perković, Marijan Kumić and Boris Tutić, also the 1st brigade members, came to the house of Mišo Rašković; there they found Mišo and Sajka Rašković; they brought in Mihajlo Šeatović and Ljuban Vujić from the neighbouring house; and after Leskovar began abusing one of the captured men, what made Kumić and Tutić leave the house not agreeing to such actions – the defendants together with Leskovar and Perković abused and killed Mišo and Sajka Rašković, Mihajlo Šeatović and Ljuban Vujić by shooting from automatic rifle and thus committed a criminal act of a war crime against civilians under Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZRH. You can see the Indictment No. K-DO-16/09 issued by the Sisak County State’s Attorney and dated 15 January 2010 here (in Croatian). PREVIOUS CASE HISTORY The Zagreb Military Prosecution laid the Indictment No. KTV-517/92 of 23 March 1992 against Dubravko Leskovar and Vide Damir Raguž for a criminal act of a murder, in its qualified form, and not for a war crime against civilians. Personal and material evidence which was pointing at the defendants’ responsibility was presented at the main hearing before the Military Court in Zagreb. Despite that, the court panel, under the presiding judge Krešimir Mudrovčić, issued a decision on 10 November 1992 whereby the criminal proceedings was suspended pursuant to the then-valid General Amnesty Act granting general amnesty from criminal prosecution and proceedings against perpetrators of criminal acts committed in armed conflicts and in war against the Republic of Croatia. The Military Prosecution did not appeal against the mentioned decision. The DORH[1] decided it would try on remedying mistakes made by itself and the courts. It instigated again criminal prosecution against the perpetrators. On 30 July 2009, the Sisak ŽDO lodged an investigation request against Vide Damir Raguž and Željko Škledar because there existed reasonable grounds for suspicion that they committed a war crime against civilians. Other potential perpetrators of the crime are no longer alive (Dubravko Leskovar and Ante Perković died in the meantime). Investigative judge of the Sisak County Court issued a decision to launch investigation. However, the Sisak County Court’s extra-trial chamber revoked the decision in respect of Damir Raguž and reversed the case back to the investigative judge to be decided upon again. As a consequence, the investigative judge rejected the initial request to launch investigation. She explained this by stating that a trial had already been conducted before the Military Court in Zagreb in the Raguž case in respect of the same factual description. On 3 December 2009, the Croatian Supreme Court accepted the state attorney’s appeal, modified the decision, accepted the request for investigation and requested launching of investigation. The Supreme Court was of the opinion that the factual description in question contained additional facts and as such was significantly of a wider extent when compared to the quantity of facts in the trial before the Military Court in Zagreb. It also found that this obviously was not the case of the matter already judged [res iudicata]. You can see here the decision of the Supreme Court (in Croatian) here. GENERAL INFORMATION Sisak County Court Case file number: K-2/10 War Crimes Council: judge Snježana Mrkoci, Council President; judges Predrag Jovanić and Ljubica Balder, Council Members

Indictment: No. K-DO -16/09 of 15 January 2010 issued by the Sisak District State Attorney’s Office, modified in April 2010.

Criminal act: war crime against civilians, Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZRH Prosecution: Jadranka Huskić, the Sisak County Deputy State’s Attorney Defendants: 1st defendant Vide Damir Raguž – unavailable to Croatian judiciary and therefore tried in absentia; 2nd defendant Željko Škledar Defence: Željko Dumančić, a lawyer practicing in Zagreb representing the 1st defendant; Nataša Čučić, a lawyer practicing in Sisak representing the 2nd defendant Injured party’s proxy holder: Vinko Dizdar, a lawyer practicing in Novska Victims – abused and killed: Sajka Rašković, Miša Rašković, Mihajlo Šeatović, Ljuban Vujić Zagreb County Court Case file number: War Crimes Council: judge Tomislav Juriša, Council President; judges Mirko Klinžić and Petar Šakić, Council Members VERDICT

On 16 April 2010, the defendant Vide Damir Raguž was found guilty by the first instance verdict and he was sentenced to 20 years in prison, whereas the defendant Željko Škledar was acquitted of charges. The session of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia was held on 10 July 2012. Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia quashed the verdict of Sisak County Court. On 7 February 2013, the Zagreb County Count rendered the first-instance verdict in which Damir Vid Raguž and Željko Škledar were acquitted of the charges.

[1] DORH: Croatian State Attorney’s Office

Crime in Saborsko

Trial against Zdravko Pejić, charged with a war crime against civilians referred to in Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZRH. INDICTMENT (SUMMARY) The defendant is charged that in his capacity as member of the so-called Plaški Territorial Defence, after the attack on Saborsko and surrounding hamlets and their occupation by Serb formations, during the search house to house in the hamlet of Šolaje on 12 November 1991, on the occasion when four civilians were forced out of the basement from one of the searched houses, he separated husband and wife Nikola and Kata Dumančić, both of Croatian ethnicity, and shot them dead by automatic rifle in the yard of that house. The Karlovac ŽDO Indicment No. K-DO-4/03 of 22 December 2011 is available in Croatian here. GENERAL INFORMATION Rijeka County Court Case file no.: War Crimes Council (judges’ panel):  judge Ika Šarić, Council President, judges Zoran Sršen and Srebrenka Šantić, Council Members Indictment: no. K-DO-4/02 of 22 December 2011 issued by the Karlovac ŽDO Criminal offence: war crime against civilians referred to in Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZRH Prosecution: Nenad Bogosavljev, Rijeka County Deputy State’s Attorney Defendant: Zdravko Pejić, unavailable Defence Counsel: Ružica Spasojević, court appointed attorney Victims-killed: Nikola and Kata Dumančić

Crime in Podvožić

There is a pending proceedings against Marko Bolić, indicted for committing a criminal offence against humanity and international law by unlawful killing and wounding the enemy as referred to in Article 124, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Basic Criminal Law Act of the Republic of Croatia (OKZRH). INDICTMENT (SUMMARY) The defendant is charged that, in his capacity as member of armed formation “Skrad Company” of the so-called SAO Krajina, on 4 November 1991 following the order given by Boro Ercegovac who was a commander of the units in the Logorište military barracks to carry out a breakthrough from the military barracks, he killed Croatian Army members Marijan Jakšić and Darko Tuškan when he came across them in the village of Podvožić. Having spotted the enemy’s army, Marijan Jakšić and Darko Tuškan pulled over and got out from their personal vehicle, and then laid down a carabine and a hand grenade on the hood and raised their hands up as a sign of surrender. Together with Rado Bolić, although their lives were not directly endangered, the defendant opened fire from personal firearms and shot Marijan Jakšić and Darko Tuškan, who died from sustained injuries at the crime scene. You can view the Indictment No. K-DO-33/10 of 18 April 2011 issued by the Karlovac County State Attorney’s Office (in Croatian) here. GENERAL INFORMATION Karlovac County Court Case No.: K-38/2011 War Crimes Council (panel): judge Ante Ujević, President of the Council, judges Alenka Laptalo and Denis Pancirov, Council Members Indictment: No. K-DO-33/10, issued by the Karlovac County Deputy State Attorney on 18 April 2011

Prosecution: Gordana Križanić, Karlovac County Deputy State Attorney

Criminal offence: unlawful killing and wounding the enemy referred to in Article 124, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the OKZRH Defendant: Marko Bolić Defence: Nenad Mamula, lawyer practicing in Karlovac Victims – killed: Marijan Jakšić and Darko Tuškan TRIAL MONITORING REPORTS PODVOZIC izvjestaji s pracenja (the reports are available in Croatian language)

Crime in Berak (defendant Milorad Momić)

Trial against Milorad Momić for war crime against civilians stated in Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZRH. INDICTMENT (SUMMARY) Defendant Milorad Momić is charged that, in his capacity as TO member together with other TO members, in 1991 in the period from 2 September until the end of autumn, he participated in activities of systematic psychological and physical abuse of entire civilian population in Berak. Their aim was to force the remaining non-Serb civilians out of the village in order to make it Serb-ethnic area. They imprisoned about 120 non-Serb civilians who remained in the village, by placing them in the big sheds of agri-business VUPIK. After that, they took them to the detention camp which had been established for that purpose in the houses of Maria and Petar Penavić and Mato Mitrović. Some of detained civilians were killed. They threatened to kill some of the mentioned civilians and frequently abused them physically by firing above their heads. They were bringing prisoners to the detention camp and beating them there; they were taking the prisoners in for questioning in the basement of Mato Mitrović’s house and were beating them there. With the purpose of establishing the mentioned goals, the defendant:

  • in the detention camp in Berak on not-precisely established date in autumn 1991 was beating with his hands Anđa Rušnov, Danica Rušnov and Mara Kujundžić,
  • in Berak on 5 September 1991, together with Ilija Čučković as previously agreed, killed Kata Garvanović in front of her house by firing a burst-fire, and thus he committed a war crime against civilians under Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZRH.

Amended/specified indictment of 12 October 2011 can be viewed (in Croatian) here. On 31 August 2012 the prosecution amended the indictment. With this amendment, Momić is charged that that in the village of Orolik on 2 September 1991, as a member of the Berak Territorial Defence together with several paramilitary formation members, he was hitting with his arms and feet Stanko Penavić, an inhabitant from Berak who had previously been detained and brought to Orolik. Because of this Penavić lost his consciousness, sustained several bone fractures and his 8 teeth were forced out. The defendant is no longer charged with incrimination (abuse of Anđa and Danica Rušnov and Mara Kujundžić and killing of Kata Garvanović). GENERAL INFORMATION Vukovar County Court Case file number: K -53/11 Defendant: Milorad Momić (kept in custody in Osijek, extradited from France on 2 September 2011, claims to be holding only French citizenship – obtained in 2006 – according to the press, his present name is Guy Monier) Criminal offence: war crime against civilians under Article 120, paragraphs 1 of the OKZRH War Crimes Council (panel): judge Nikola Bešenski, President of the Council; judges Milan Kojić and Irena Lenić, Council Members Prosecution: Vlatko Miljković, Vukovar County Deputy State Attorney Indictment: no. K-DO-42/01 of 5 April 2006 issued by the Vukovar ŽDO, amended in respect of the defendant (no. K-DO-42/01 on 12 October 2011 and on 31 August 2012) Defence: Tomislav Filaković, lawyer practising in Osijek (appointed defence counsel) Victims: – according to the initial indictment: – killed: Kata Garvanović; – beaten: Anđa Rušnov, Danica Rušnov, Mara Kujundžić – according to the indictment amended on 31 August 2012: – abused: Stanko Penavić VERDICT On 21 December 2012, the Vukovar County Court’s War Crimes Council pronounced the defendant Momić guilty and sentenced him to three years in prison.

Crime in Grubori

Trial against Frano Drljo, Božo Krajina and Igor Beneta for war crime against civilians under Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZRH.
INDICTMENT (SUMMARY)

The defendants are charged that in their capacity as members of Anti-terrorist unit (ATJ) Lučko, on 25 August 1995 during the field search action named “Oluja obruč”, following an entry in Grubori by the groups under Drljo’s and Krajina’s command, Drljo and Beneta-subordinated to him were shooting civilians and setting houses on fire, and Drljo, having seen it, took no action to prevent his subordinated soldiers from doing that, while Krajina, having seen that members of the group also subordinated to him together with the mentioned persons were killing civilians and burning houses, took no due action to prevent members of his group, and thus gunshot wounds were inflicted on that occasion to Milica Grubor, Marija Grubor, Jovo Grubor, Jovan Grubor of late Damjan, Miloš Grubor and Đuro Karanović causing their deaths, and majority of buildings and farm facilities were set on fire in the hamlet of Grubori.
GENERAL INFORMATION

Zagreb County Court

Case file number: K-3/10

War Crimes Council (panel): judge Zdravko Majerović, President of the Council, judges Mirko Klinžić and Marjan Garac, Council Members

Indictment: No. K-DO-358/09 of 15 December 2010 issued by the Zagreb County State Attorney’s Office

Prosecution: Robert Petrovečki, Zagreb County Deputy State Attorney

Criminal offence: war crime against civilians under Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZRH

Defendants:
1st defendant Frano Drljo
2nd defendant Božo Krajina
3rd defendant Igor Beneta, was at large, the decision on trial in his absence had been issued, but, media reported on 27 November 2011 that Igor Beneta committed suicide. At the hearing held on 1 March 2012, it was announced that the proceedings against him were discontinued.

Defence:
representing the 1st defendant, Ljubo Pavasović Visković and Ivan Stanić, lawyers practicing in Zagreb
representing the 2nd defendant, Jadranka Sloković, lawyer practicing in Zagreb
representing the 3rd defendant, Ksenija Gržin, lawyer practicing in Zagreb

 

Victims – killed: Milica Grubor, Marija Grubor, Jovo Grubor, Jovan Grubor of late Damjan, Miloš Grubor and Đuro Karanović
TRIAL MONITORING REPORTS

More on the crime in Grubori and its investigation can be viewed in attached document. It can be viewed (in Croatian) here.

GRUBORI izvjestaji s pracenja glavne rasprave (trial monitoring reports, available in Croatian)

Crime in Mlinište

Trial against Emil Črnčec, Tihomir Šavorić, Antun Novačić, Robert Precehtjel, Nenad Jurinec, Goran Gaća and Robert Berak, for a war crime against war prisoners, as described and punishable in accordance with Article 122 of the OKZRH. INDICTMENT (SUMMARY) Indictment of the Zagreb County State Attorney’s Office no. K-DO-287/09 of 18 June 2010, charges the aforementioned defendants that, in their capacity as members of the 7th Guard Brigade of the Croatian Army (HV), in the wider area of Mlinište in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 9 and 10 September 1995, they took away members of the Republika Srpska Army imprisoned during the “Maestral 2” military action (Radoslav Lakić, Pero Vidović, Petar Jotanović, Dragoslav Mutić, Borislav Vukić and one more unidentified male person), in the village of Halapić to the headquarters of the 7th HV Guard Brigade and, by following the orders of the brigade commander, now-late Ivan Korade, they confined them there in the barn nearby the headquarters office for the purpose of execution; the next day, following the now-late Ivan Korade’s order to execute the prisoners, the 1st defendant Črnčec and the 2nd defendant Šavorić fired from their personal weapons at Radoslav Lakić and Pero Vidović, as a result of which they died; the 3rd defendant Novačić, the 4th defendant Precehtjel and the 7th defendant Berak by following the now-late Korade’s order formed a firing squad, opened automatic rifle fire and executed Petar Jotanović and unidentified male person; whereas war prisoners Dragoslav Mutić and Borislav Vukić were handed over to the members of Artillery Battery of the 3rd Battalion of the 7th HV Guard Brigade in the central place of the battery in Mlinište where the 3rd defendant Novačić, the 4th defendant Precehtjel, the 5th defendant Jurinec, the 6th defendant Gaća and the 7th defendant Berak killed them by firing multiple shots from automatic rifles, and thus, by violating the international law rules they were killing war prisoners and therefore committed a criminal offence against humanity and international law – a war crime against war prisoners – as described and punishable according to Article 122 of the OKZRH. GENERAL INFORMATION Zagreb County Court Case file number: K-rz-1/10 War Crimes Council (panel): judge Marijan Garac, President of the Council, judges Rajka Tomerlin Almer and Zdravko Majerović, Council Members Indictment: no. K-DO-287/09 of 18 June 2010 issued by the Zagreb County State Attorney’s Office. Prosecution: Jurica Ilić, Zagreb County Deputy State’s Attorney Criminal offence: war crime against war prisoners under Article 122 of the OKZRH Defendants: 1st defendant Emil Črnčec, 2nd defendant Tihomir Šavorić, 3rd defendant Antun Novačić, 4th defendant Robert Precehtjel, 5th defendant Nenad Jurinec, 6th defendant Goran Gaća, 7th defendant Robert Berak The defendants are held in custody from 28 October 2009. Defence: – lawyer Željko Olujić representing the 1st defendant, – lawyers Zvonimir Hodak and Tanja Vranjican Đerek representing the 2nd defendant, – lawyers Ana Marija Gospočić and Laura Valković representing the 3rd defendant, – lawyer Gordana Grubeša representing the 4th defendant, – lawyer Marko Zečević representing the 5th defendant, – lawyer Emir Midžić representing the 6th defendant, – lawyer Stipica Akrap representing the 7th defendant, Victims (killed): Radoslav Lakić, Pero Vidović, Petar Jotanović, Dragoslav Mutić, Borislav Vukić and one unidentified male person TRIAL MONITORING REPORTS Click here to read in Croatian the trial monitoring reports on the Mlinište case. VERDICT On 24 October 2011, the War Crimes Council of the Zagreb County Court found five defendants guilty. Tihomir Šavorić and Nenad Jurinec are sentenced to six years and Antun Novačić is sentenced to five years in prison. Robert Precehtjel and Robert Berak are sentenced to two years each for aiding and abetting the crime. The 1st defendant Emil Črnčec and the 6th defendant Goran Gaća are acquitted. Detention against Šavorić, Jurinec and Novačić who are sentenced with the first-instance verdict (verdict before appeal) is extended. After the pronouncement of the verdict, detention was vacated in respect of Precehtjel and Berak, including also Črnčec and Gaća who are acquitted. The public session of the Supreme Court of the RoC was held on 6 May 2013. We are not familiar with the decision.

The crime on Pogledić hill near Glina

Trial against the defendant Rade Miljević for a war crime against civilians under Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZRH.

INDICTMENT (SUMMARY)

The Sisak County State’s Attorney’s Office (hereinafter: the ŽDO) issued the indictment No. K-DO-3/06 on 4 September 2006 against the defendant Rade Miljević. The defendant is charged that, on 20 September 1991 in Glina, as a member of illegal military forces of the so-called “Serb Autonomous Region (SAO) Krajina”, using the circumstances of armed rebellion in that area, contrary to the provisions of Article 3 of the 4th Geneva Convention from 12 August 1949 relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and Article 4, items 1 and 2 of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Convention of 8 June 1977 relative to the Protection of Victims of Non-international Armed Conflicts (Protocol 2), together with an unidentified number of armed and uniformed, unknown members of the same military forces, took away from the Glina Prison detained civilians Janko Kaurić, Milan Litrić, Borislav Litrić and Ante Žužić. Under the pretext of sending them to the Knin Prison, they took the detainees to the Pogledić Hill where they killed the detainees using firearms.

The defendant is charged that, having breached the rules of the international humanitarian law during an armed conflict, he killed civilians, whereby he committed a criminal act against humanity and international humanitarian law – a war crime against civilians, described and punishable pursuant to Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZ RH.

The indictment was amended at the main hearing held on 9 May 2007. County Deputy State Attorney altered the factual description of criminal offence so that the defendant is now charged that, based on his previous agreement with the members of reconnaissance group of Joso Kovačević, he took the injured persons out of the prison and surrendered them for execution.
GENERAL DATA

Sisak County Court

Case number: K 14/12

War Crimes Council (in the second repeated trial): judge Melita Avedić, President of the Council; judges Alenka Lešić and Željko Mlinarić, Council members

Indictment: issued by the Sisak ŽDO, No. K-DO-03/06 of 4 September 2006, modified at the main hearing held on 9 May 2007

Prosecuting attorney: Marijan Zgurić, Deputy Sisak County State Attorney

Criminal act: war crime against civilians referred to in Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZ RH

Defendant: Rade Miljević

Defence counsels: Zorko Konstanjšek, a lawyer practising in Sisak; Domagoj Rupčić, a lawyer practising in Sisak; Veljko Miljević, a lawyer practising in Zagreb

Victims – killed civilians: Janko Kaurić, Milan Litrić, Borislav Litrić, Ante Žužić

The defendant’s attorney-in-fact: Darko Rogan, a lawyer practising in Zagreb
MONITORING REPORTS

POGLEDIĆ monitoring reports 2006-2007 (in Croatian)

POGLEDIĆ monitoring reports 2008 (in Croatian)

Following the repeated procedure which commenced on 28 March 2008 and which was, compared to the first trial, held before another War Crimes Council of the Sisak County Court, a verdict was announced on 17 December 2008 in which the defendant Rade Miljević was found guilty of committing the criminal act with which he was charged, i.e. that on 20 September 1991 he took away from the Glina Prison detained civilians Janko Kurić, Milan Litrić, Borislav Litrić and Ante Žužić and, for the purpose of their liquidation, handed them over to an unidentified number of armed unknown persons who waited for the detainees in front of the Glina Prison, took them to the Pogledić Hill near Glina where they killed them with bullets fired from firearms.

The verdict was adopted following a repeated procedure.

Namely, the Supreme Court of the RoC quashed the verdict passed on 18 June 2007 in which the defendant was sentenced to 14 years in prison. The Supreme Court assessed that the facts were incompletely and erroneously established and ordered the first instance court to once again present all evidence, particularly witness testimonies that were contrary to each other; it also ordered the facts to be established on the basis of these presented evidence.

In the repeated procedure which commenced on 28 March 2008 and which was completed on 17 December 2008, 11 hearings were held, during which a total of 24 witnesses were heard. The defendant was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

However, the Supreme Court quashed the verdict of the Sisak County Court of 17 December 2008 and reversed the case to the first instance court for a re-trial before another War Crimes Council.

You can read the report from the public session of the Supreme Court here. (in Croatian)

The main hearing in the third (second repeated) trial began on 25 October 2010.    

POGLEDIĆ monitoring reports (in Croatian)
VERDICTS

On 13 June 2007, the War Crimes Council of the Sisak County Court announced a verdict in which Rade Miljević was found guilty of a criminal act with which he was charged in the indictment and sentenced him to 14 years in prison.

The Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia quashed the verdict of the War Crimes Council of the Sisak County Court due to erroneously and incompletely established facts.

On 17 December 2008, a verdict was announced in which the defendant was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Detention against the defendant was extended.

The Panel of the Supreme Court, at the session held on 9 June 2009 quashed the verdict of the War Crimes Council of the Sisak County Court and reversed the case for a re-trial before another Council.

On 22 November 2012, the Sisak County Court’s War Crimes Council pronounced the verdict in which it acquitted defendant Miljević.

 

You can read an overview and opinion of the monitoring team following the conducted first procedure before the first instance court here. (in Croatian)
OPINION OF THE MONITORING TEAM FOLLOWING THE CONCLUSION OF THE FIRST INSTANCE PROCEEDINGS

The criminal procedure against the defendant Rade Miljević held before the Sisak County Court was conducted correctly. However, we wish to warn of the following:

The original indictment issued by the County State Attorney’s Office charged the defendant with participating in the killing of civilians although this did not follow from the evidence stated in the indictment. There was no closed set of indications, let alone any evidence indicating that the defendant participated in the execution of the prisoners in any way, nor that he executed them himself.

During the evidence procedure, the Court rejected a great amount of the evidence proposed by the defence. In our view, rejections of some of the proposed evidence were not sufficiently argumented in the verdict. Also, we believe that the verdict did not clearly explain which of the «circumstances indicated that» the defendant knew that the prisoners were going to be executed after they were taken away from the prison in Glina. If the defence files an appeal on these grounds, it is questionable whether the Supreme Court will find that the facts have been fully established.

Further, during the procedure the defending attorney received a written threat and warned the Court that there was an obvious pressure on the witnesses. However, the Court rejected his proposition to exclude the public from the hearings.

As the Court did not use a separate room for witnesses, there were occasions when witnesses discussed and commented on their statements.

In addition, this procedure brought to light another case of a trial in absentia that had been held before the Sisak County Court (case number K-23/93), in which the accused Ranko Pralica and Stanko Palančan were convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. As the court-appointed attorney did not appeal against the decision to the Supreme Court, the verdict reached by the County Court became legally valid after the expiry of the appeal period. Ranko Pralica and Stanko Palančan were convicted of two war crimes against civilians pursuant to Article 142, Paragraph 1 of the Penal Law of the Republic of Croatia. The factual grounds of Item 2 of the verdict stated that the injured person Borislav Litrić died in the prison from beating injuries he had received. However, in the trial against the defendant Miljević, the Court established that Borislav Litrić was taken away from the prison by Rade Miljević, along with the other three injured persons, and was then executed on a hill near Glina.

It remains to be seen whether the Sisak County State Attorney’s Office, which issued both these indictments, will exercise the right to request a repetition of the trial against Ranko Pralica and Stanko Palančanin, given that the presented personal evidence as well as the findings and opinion of medical expert witnesses on the cause of death of the injured person Borislav Litrić indicated that he died from gunshot wounds and not injuries from physical abuse, on the count of which they were legally convicted.

Centre for Peace, Non-Violence and Human Rights in Osijek
Documenta, Zagreb
Civic Committee for Human Rights, Zagreb

Crime at the Bršljenovica hill near Plaški


Trial against Dušan Kovačević, charged with a war crime against the wounded and sick referred to in Article 121 of the OKZ RH.

INDICTMENT (SUMMARY)

The defendant is charged that, in his capacity as member of Serb paramilitary formations of the Plaški Public Security Unit, in Plaški on 29 June 1992, in the area on the Bršljenovica hill where members of the mentioned Unit, the Martić’s Militia and Plaški MP set up the ambush and opened fire at members of the Croatian Army’s „14. domobranska pukovnija“ brothers Slavko and Zdravko Bionda, following their capture, he approached seriously wounded Zdravko Bionda and fired several shots in his head and thus killed him.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Rijeka County Court

Case No.:

War Crimes Council (judges’ panel): judge Ika Šarić, Council President

Indictment: No. K-DO-9/02 issued by the Karlovac ŽDO on 8 June 2011

Criminal offence: war crime against the wounded and sick referred to in Article 121 of the OKZRH

Proseuction: Doris Hrast, Rijeka County Deputy State’s Attorney

Accused person/defendant: Dušan Kovačević, unavailable

Defence:

Victim – killed: Zdravko Bionda

Crime in Medak (GOSPIĆ)

CRIME IN MEDAK (GOSPIĆ)

Trials in Serbia

Verdict after appeal

On 23 June 2010, the Higher Court in Belgrade found guilty defendants Milorad Lazić, Mirko Marunić and Nikola Konjević for war crime against POWs, committed in Medak near Gospić in 1991. Defendant Perica Đaković was acquitted. On 19 January 2011, the Belgrade Appeals Court rendered the judgment in which it upheld the first instance judgement in respect of Milorad Lazić, Mirko Marunić and Nikola Konjević, and quashed the judgement and remanded the case for retrial in respect of Perica Đaković.

After the repeated trial, on 1 July 2011 the Belgrade Higher Court pronounced the judgement in which Perica Đaković was acquitted against. The judgement became final.

 INDICTMENT (SUMMARY)

The Indictment of 6 October 2009 issued by the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor of the Republic of Serbia charges Milorad Lazić, Perica Đaković, Nikola Vujnović, Mirko Marunić and Nikola Konjević that, in the Militia station of the so-called SAO Krajina from 3 to 8 September 1991 they tortured detained Croatian Police Member Mirko Medunić and thus committed the war crime against POWs referred to in Article 144 of the Criminal Code of the Socialistic Republic of Yugoslavia.

The Indictment is available in Croatian on our Website.

On 2 June 2010, the Prosecutor dropped charges against Nikola Vujnović.

 JUDGEMENT

On 23 June 2010, the Higher Court Chamber pronounced the first-instance judgement in which defendants Lazić and Konjević were sentence to 3 years each, and defendant Marunić to 2 years in prison. Defendant Đaković was acquitted.

On 19 January 2011, the Belgrade Appeals upheld the first-instance judgement in respect of Milorad Lazić Mirko Marunić and Nikola Konjević, and quashed it and remanded the case for retrial in respect of Perica Đaković.

After the repeated trial, on 1 July 2011 the Higher Court in Belgrade pronounced the judgement in which Perica Đaković was acquitted against. The judgement became final.

Crime in Bučje (defendant Radovan Arsenić)

Trials in Croatia ::
Trial against Radovan Arsenić, charged with a war crime against civilians referred to in Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZ RH

 

INDICTMENT

Indictment Požega No. DO-K-20/99-16 of 26 July 1999 issued by County State Attorney’s Office see here. (available in Croatian)

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

Požega County Court

Case file no.: K-32/99

Council (judges’ panel): judge Predrag Dragičević, Council President; judge Stjepan Franjić, Council Member; judge Jasna Zubčić, Council Member; lay judges Zvonko Ciglenečki, Ivan Čurčić, Ivan Stastni and Dragutin Šmerđa

Indictment: Indictment Požega No. DO-K-20/99-16 of 26 July 1999 issued by County State Attorney’s Office

Prosecution: Božena Jurković, Požega County Deputy State’s Attorney

Criminal offence: war crime against civilians referred to in Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZ RH

Defendant: Radovan Arsenić, available

Defence counsel: Alojzije Fiuri, lawyer practicing in Požega

Victims – physically and/or mentally maltreated: Jakob Jozipović, Mato Modrušan and Franjo Cerovac

 

VERDICT (SUMMARY)

In the Požega County Court’s verdict of 8 October 1999, the defendant was found guilty that in his capacity as guard from August until December 1991 in detention camp Bučje which was formed by paramilitary formations with the purpose to maltreat and keep civilians and war prisoners of non-Serb ethnicity, he was beating detained civilian Jakob Jozipović with automatic rifle’s gunstock causing fractures of ribs and injuries of limbs; he mentally maltreated civilian Mato Modrušan forcing him to labour, telling that he would be executed unless he performs the assigned work; and, on several occasions, he physically and mentally maltreated detained Franjo Cerovac by hitting him in the part of the body with kidneys with the rifle’s gunstock telling that: “Be happy that you are alive and thank this to the major” and he also hit Cerovac at his backside while carrying a faeces bucket that made Cerovac fell on the ground whereby defendant swore “mother of Ustasha” at him and did not allow Cerovac to pick up thrown cigarette butt.

The defendant was sentenced to 6 years in prison.

The verdict of 8 October 1999 rendered by the Požega County Court can be seen here.