Verdict after appeal

Arson in Pušina and Slatinski Drenovac

Arson in Pušina and Slatinski Drenovac Trials in Croatia :: verdict after appeal On 22 March 2010 before the Bjelovar County Court War Crimes Council, the main hearing began in the trial against Ivan Husnjak and Goran Sokol indicted for a war crime against civilians under Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZRH in conjunction with Article 29, paragraph 2 of the OKZRH. INDICTMENT (SUMMARY) The Indictment charges the defendants that they as the HV officers – the 1st defendant Husnjak as a commander of the 2nd battalion of the 132nd brigade of HV “R” and the 2nd defendant Sokol as a deputy commander – failed to take on 1 February 1992 any action to prevent and punish unlawful conducts of their subordinates. The indictment alleges events preceding the aforementioned incrimination event. Previously, on 18 December 1991 the HV forces freed the wider Orahovica area and villages under Papuk mountain. In particular, the special police forces from Osijek and police station Orahovica took control over the mentioned area. Following to that, on 31 January 1991 the defendant Husnjak ordered a cleansing of occupied villages Pušine and Slatinski Drenovac. During that cleansing operation, several unidentified members – subordinates to the defendants – began with setting fire to abandoned Serb-ethnicity people’s houses that entered later because of such actions into a conflict with members of the special police and of the police who attempted without success to prevent them. Thus, the Indictment charges the 1st and the 2nd defendant that, although aware of unlawful actions going on, they failed to take any action and therefore agreed to continued actions by their subordinates and consequences thereof. As alleged in the Indictment, the consequences included 17 destroyed houses in Pušine caused by the arson attack, the Orthodox church damaged by fire shots, 19 houses set on fire in Slatinski Drenovac including the hunters’ lodge between Pušine and Slatinski Drenovci. Therefore, although it was their duty, the defendants failed to prevent this extensive, unlawful and arbitrary destruction of the property, that was not justified by military needs, and thus, they committed a war crime against civilians under Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZRH in conjunction with Article 28, paragraph 2 of the OKZRH. You can see the Bjelovar ŽDO’s Indictment No. K-DO-6/06 of 23 September 2008 here (in Croatian). GENERAL INFORMATION Bjelovar County Court War Crimes Council: judge Sandra Hančić, War Crimes Council President, judges Mladen Piškorec and Ivanka Šarko, Council Members Case file number: K- 9/09 Indictment: No. K-DO-6/06 of 23 September 2008 issued by the Bjelovar County State Attorney’s Office Criminal act: war crime against civilians under Article 120 OKZRH in conjunction with Article 28, paragraph 2 of the OKZRH Prosecution: Branka Merzić, the Bjelovar County State Attorney Defendants: Ivan Husnjak and Goran Sokol, Croatian Army officers, attend the trial – not detained Defence: lawyer Marko Dumančić representing the 1st defendant, lawyer Zdravko Dumančić representing the 2nd defendant TRIAL MONITORING REPORTS