Crime in Široka Kula (defendant Nikola Zagorac et al.)


Trial against Nikola Zagorac, Miroslav Serdar, Dane Serdar, Dušan Uzelac, Milorad Barać, Marijan Uzelac and Dragan Vunjak, charged with a war crime against civilians referred to in Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZRH

TRIAL AT FIRST INSTANCE

Gospić County Court

Case file no.: K-1/93

Judges’ panel: judge Matilda Krunić, presiding, judge Miroslava Jurjević, member, lay judges Stjepan Vukelić, Ivan Prpić and Zvonimir Zdunić, members

Indictment: no. KT-27/92 of 30 June 1992 issued by the Gospić District State’s Attorney Office

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

Defendants: Nikola Zagorac, Miroslav Serdar, Dane Serdar, Dušan Uzelac, Milorad Barać, Marijana Uzelac and Dragan Vunjak, unavailable

Defence counsel: Stjepan Nikšić, lawyer practicing in Gospić

Victims – killed civilians: Mandica Nikšić, Vera Nikšić, Nikica Orešković, Anka Orešković, Ana Orešković, Milan Orešković, Kata Orešković and Marija Nikšić

According to the Gospić County Court’s verdict no. K-1/93-13 of 16 June 1994, the defendants were found guilty as charged that in Široka Kula during September and October 1991 in their capacity as members of Chetnik formations and militia of the so-called SAO Krajina, firing from automatic infantry weapons at civilian facilities they were restricting movement of civilian population and, on 13 October 1991, they burned down with the rifle grenade the house where civilians were sheltered in the basement, they opened fire at those civilians and killed eight of them (among them seven women).

Nikola Zagorac, Miroslav Serdar and Dragan Vunjak are sentenced to 20 years in prison each and Dane Serdar, Dušan Uzelac, Milorad Barać and Dragan Uzelac to 15 years in prison each.

The Verdict is available in Croatian here.

VSRH VERDICT

On 25 October 1994, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia rejected as unfounded the defendants’ appeals and confirmed the first-instance verdict.

The VSRH verdict no. I Kž-670/1994-3 of 25 October 1994 is available in Croatian here.

REOPENED PROCEEDINGS

According to the decision no. Kv-16/04-3 of 13 February 2004 issued by the Gospić County Court, reopening of the proceedings was allowed in the section pertaining to the convicted Dane Serdar.

Gospić County Court

Case file no.: K-5/04

War Crimes Council: judge Dušan Šporčić, Council President, judges Milka Vraneš and Branko Milanović, Council Members

Defendant: Dane Serdar, available

Defence counsels: lawyers Luka Šušak and Veljko Miljević

According to the Gospić County Court’s verdict no. K-5/04-186 of 23 September 2004, the previous verdict was repealed in the section in which Dane Serdar had been found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison. This Court rendered a verdict in which it acquitted Dane Serdar of the charges.

The Verdict is available in Croatian here.

THE VSRH VERDICT

On 16 December 2008, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia rendered a verdict no. I Kž 275/05-5 in which the State Attorney’s appeal was rejected as unfounded and the verdict rendered by the court at first instnance was confirmed.

The Verdict is available in Croatian here.