Crime in Novska III

 

On 23 September 2010, a trial against the accused Željko Belina, Dejan Milić, Ivan Grgić and Zdravko Plesec, former members of the Croatian Army charged with war crime against civilians committed by killing Goranka Mileusnić, Vera Mileusnić and Blaženka Slabak and wounding of Petar Mileusnić in Novska in December 1991, commenced at the Sisak County Court. On 19 November 2010, the Sisak County Court’ War Crimes Council rendered a judgement rejecting the charge pursuant to Article 353, item 5 of the Criminal Procedure Act because it held the view that this was a res iudicata case i.e. that the matter was already judged. The VSRH quashed the first instance verdict rejecting the charge in respect of the 1st defendant Belina and the 2nd defendant Milić. The first instance verdict was confirmed in respect of defendants Ivan Grgić and Zdravko Plesec. The repeated first instance proceedings in respect of defendants Željko Belina and Dejan Milić will be conducted at the Zagreb County Court. After the repeated trial, the Zagreb County Court’s War Crimes Council found the defendants guilty on 8 March 2013. Belina was sentenced to 10 years, and Milić to 9 years in prison.

INDICTMENT (SUMMARY) The accused persons are charged that, in their capacity as members of the Croatian Army, in Novska on 18 December 1991, together with the now deceased Dubravko Leskovar, they approached the house of Petar Mileusnić with the intention of killing all persons found on the spot. They are also charged that they mistreated Petar Mileusnić, and that Belina, Milić and Leskovar opened fire from automatic rifles and shot Goranka Mileusnić, Vera Mileusnić and Blaženka Slabak causing their death, and that they wounded Petar Mileusnić. The indictment No: K-DO-35/08, issued by the Sisak County State Attorney’s Office on 09 July 2010, can be viewed here (in Croatian).

The indictent was also amended at the hearing held on 6 March 2013. Additional finding and opinion of the forensic pathologist in respect of the injuries which injured parties sustained tempore criminies was included in the indictment.

  ACTIONS PRECEDING THE TRIAL In 1992 the investigation into the incriminating event was being conducted against Željko Belina, Ivan Grgić, Dubravko Leskovar, Dejan Milić and Zdravko Plesec for criminal offences of murder stated in Article 35, Paragraph 2, Item 4 of the Penal Act of the Republic of Croatia and for attempted murder stated in Article 35, Paragraph 2, Item 4 in relation to Article 19 of the Criminal Law of the Republic of Croatia. After the investigation was being carried out, the Military Prosecution Office in Zagreb dropped charges against Grgić and Plesec, whereas the procedure against Belina, Leskovar and Milić was continued and brought to the Military Court in Zagreb, under the file number K-44/92. The trial ended on 02 November 1992 with the decision on cancellation of criminal procedure through application of the amnesty law. Subsequently the injured parties filed a criminal complaint against the same persons for the stated event, however, this time the charge stated in the complaint was the criminal offence of war crime against civilians stated in Article 120, Paragraph 1 of the Criminal Law of the Republic of Croatia.   GENERAL INFORMATION Sisak County Court Case No: War Crime Council (panel): Judge Snježana Mrkoci, President of the War Crime Council Indictment issued by: the Sisak County State Attorney’s Office, K-DO-35/08 dated on 09 July 2010 Representing the prosecution: Jadranka Huskić, Sisak County Deputy State Attorney Criminal act: war crime against civilians stated in Article 120, Paragraph 1 of the Penal Code of the Republic of Croatia The accused: Željko Belina, Dejan Milić, Ivan Grgić and Zdravko Plesec – held in custody since 20 August 2010 Defence lawyers for the accused: Zorko Kostanjšek, Marin Ivanović, Domagoj Rupčić and Dragan Crnković Victims: – killed persons: Goranka Mileusnić, Vera Mileusnić and Blaženka Slabak – mistreated and wounded person: Petar Mileusnić Repeated trial Zagreb County Court Case No: K-Rz-20/12 War Crime Council (panel): judge Marijan Garac, Council President, judges Petar Šakić and Zdravko Majerović, Council Members Indictment issued by: the Zagreb County State Attorney’s Office, K-DO-254/12 (the Sisak County State Attorney’s Office, K-DO-35/08 dated on 9 July 2010) Representing the prosecution: Criminal act: war crime against civilians stated in Article 120, Paragraph 1 of the Penal Code of the Republic of Croatia The accused: Željko Belina and Dejan Milić Defence lawyers for the accused: Zorko Kostanjšek and Marin Ivanović Victims: – killed persons: Goranka Mileusnić, Vera Mileusnić and Blaženka Slabak – mistreated and wounded person: Petar Mileusnić   VERDICT

On 19 November 2010, the Sisak County Court’ War Crimes Council rendered a judgement rejecting the charge pursuant to Article 353, item 5 of the Criminal Procedure Act because it held the view that this was a res iudicata case i.e. that the matter was already judged.

Detention of the defendants was vacated and they were set free. The VSRH Appeals Chamber held its session on 21 February 2012. The VSRH quashed the first instance verdict rejecting the charge in respect of the 1st defendant Belina and the 2nd defendant Milić. The first instance verdict was confirmed in respect of defendants Ivan Grgić and Zdravko Plesec. The repeated first instance proceedings in respect of defendants Željko Belina and Dejan Milić will be conducted at the Zagreb County Court. After the repeated trial, the Zagreb County Court’s War Crimes Council found the defendants guilty on 8 March 2013. Belina was sentenced to 10 years, and Milić to 9 years in prison.