Crime in Tovarnik

The main hearing began on 13 April 2010 at the Vukovar County Court in the trial against Miloš Stanimirović and another fourteen persons. The defendants were charged that following 20 September 1991 in Tovarnik they were displacing, killing, mentally torturing Croat and non-Serb civilian population and were seizing or destroying their property. Thus, they committed criminal offences against humanity and international law – a genocide as described and punishable according to Article 119 of the OKZRH and a war crime against civilians as described and punishable according to Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZRH by applying Article 43 of the OKZRH.

The indictment was amended on 10 April 2012. According to the amended indictment, eleven defendants are charged with a war crime against civilians, and three defendants are charged with armed rebellion. Criminal proceedings were discontinued in respect of one female defendant who died.

The first-instance judgement of the Vukovar County Co

urt’s War Crimes Council was pronounced on 23 April 2012.
INDICTMENT (SUMMARY)

The defendants were charged that following the occupation of Tovarnik on 20 September 1991 by the so-called JNA, Serb paramilitary formations and extreme persons adjoined to it, having joined the occupation forces contrary to Article 3, 27 and 53 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949, Article 51, item 2 of the Protocol I, Article 4 of the Protocol II of the same Geneva Convention and Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, with the intention to make this area ethnically clean and to render further living to Croat and other non-Serb population impossible, they were displacing, killing and mentally torturing Croat and non-Serb civilian population and were seizing or destroying their property. Thus, by violating the international law rules in time of armed conflict, the defendants were killing, torturing, inflicting great suffering and bodily injuries to the mentioned population. The defendants were displacing them and plundering their property with the intention to destroy entirely Croat population by killing, inflicting serious bodily injuries and by forcibly displacing the population;

the defendants had thereby committed criminal acts against humanity and international law – a genocide as described and punishable according to Article 119 of the OKZRH and a war crime against civilians as described and punishable under Article 120 of the OKZRH by applying Article 43 of the OKZRH.

To see the Indictment No. DO-K-34/00 of the Vukovar County State Attorney’s Office (hereinafter: the ŽDO) issued on 1 February 2001, available in Croatian, click here.

The indictment was amended on 10 April 2012. According to the amended indictment, eleven defendants are charged with a war crime against civilians, and three defendants are charged with armed rebellion.
GENERAL INFORMATION

Vukovar County Court

Case file number: K-6/01

War Crimes Council: judge Nikola Bešenski, Council President; judges Nevenka Zeko and Zlata Sotirov, Council Members

Indictment: the DO-K-34/00 Indictment of the Vukovar ŽDO, issued on 1 February 2001; the indictment was amended on 10 April 2012

Criminal act: a genocide, under Article 119 of the OKZRH and a war crime against civilians under Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZRH by applying Article 43 of the OKZRH; the charges after amending the indictment were: war crime against civilians under Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZRH and a criminal offence – armed rebellion under Article 235, paragraph 1 (236.f) of the Criminal Law Act of the Republic of Croatia

Prosecution: Miroslav Šarić, Vukovar County Deputy State’s Attorney

Defendants: Miloš Stanimirović, Stevan Srdić, Dušan Stupar, Boško Miljković, Dragan Sedlić, Branislav Jerković, Jovo Janjić, Milenko Stojanović, Dušan Dobrić, Djuro Dobrić, Jovan Miljković, Katica Maljković, Nikola Tintor, Željko Krnjajić and Radoslav Stanimirović – all unavailable to Croatian judiciary authorities; thus are being tried in their absence

Defence: Stjepan Šporčić, Šimo Filipović, Jasminka Mandić, Jelica Balog, Dubravko Marjanović, Dražen Marković, Branimir Fingler, Hrvojka Čolaković, Josip Ćorluka, Berislav Knez, Igor Plavšić, Darko Bekavac, Ranko Janjić, Krunoslav Gloković and Domagoj Rešetar

Victims (according to the DO-K-34/00 Indictment of the Vukovar ŽDO of 1 February 2001, in respect of 24 defendants):

– killed: Ruža Jurić, Ivan Jurić, Željko Vrančić, Antun Šimunić, Berislava Šimunić, Danijel Marinković, Mato Ćuk, Marijan Mioković, Rudolf Rapp, Ivan Zelić, Stjepan Matić, Stipo Kovačević, ? Bilić, an unindentified person, Karlo Grbešić, Anto Markanović, Marko Bošnjak, Ivo Maleševac, Djuro Grgić, Marin Mioković, Branko Salajić, Tomo Glibo, Filomena Glibo, Ivan Burik, Pavao Vrančić, Ilija Džambo, Krešo Puljić, Mato Čulić, Vojko Selak;

– tortured: Mirko Markutović, Živan Markutović, Andrija Jurić, Tomislav Grgić, Stjepan Marinković, Pavo Donković, Božo Grbešić, Žarko Grbešić, Dragan Hajduk, Glibo Stjepan, Branko Šimunić, Ratko Dovičin, Marin Mitrović, Marijan Matijević;

– expelled: Ilija Šimunić, Tomislav Grgić and his mother, Jozo Beljo and his family, Vlatko Glavašić, Ivan Palijan’s family, Ivo Djurić, Juro Beljo, Mato Ćuk, Mijo Siketić’s family, Andrija Jurić, Stipo Glibo, Vjekoslav Mioković, Josip Djurčinović, Martin Djurčinović, Marija Topić, Marica Grgić, Đuro Grgić, Ivan Zelić, Stjepan Matić, Dragan Hajduk, Mijo Petković;

– coerced to forced labour: Mijo Siketić, Mile Ivančić (wounded), Stipo Kovačević, Bilić and one more unidentified person, Martin Habčak;

– burned houses: Marin Šijaković, Vlatko Glavašić, Rudolf Rapp, Dragan Hajduk;

– maltreated: Marija Palijan, Tanja Palijan, Martin Habčak, Adam Čurčinović
TRIAL MONITORING REPORTS

On 1 February 2001, the indictment was raised against 24 defendants.

On the basis of the Vukovar County Court’s Decision No: Kv-122/01 of 29 October 2001 the trial was separated in respect of the defendants Milenko Stupar, Strahinja Ergić, Dragoljub Trifunović, Đorđe Miljković, Mićo Miljković and Janko Ostojić. The trial against them was concluded with a legally binding verdict.

The aforementioned defendants were present in the course of the trial. Milenko Stupar, Strahinja Ergić, Dragoljub Trifunović and Mićo Maljković received a verdict of acquittal, Janko Ostojić received a verdict of rejecting the charges, whereas Đorđe Miljković received a verdict of conviction sentencing him to 3 years in prison.

On the basis of the Decision No. Kv-64/06 of 22 March 2006 issued by the same Court, the trial was separated in respect of Aleksandar Trifunović. Trifunović was kept in custody and was present in the trial. However, the Vukovar County Court accepted the registration of his property – a house to serve as a guarantee for the defendant’s presence during the trial and thus it vacated his detention. The Supreme Court quashed the decision on guarantee and on vacating detention. However prior to that, the defendant fled from the Republic of Croatia. An international warrant was issued against him.

Further, the proceedings were discontinued in respect of the defendants Jovan Medić and Božo Rudić because of their deaths.

The Extra-Trial Chamber of the Vukovar County Court issued a decision No. Kv-288/06 of 26 February 2007 determining a conduct of the trial in absence of other remaining defendants (fifteen person). You can see the Decision (in Croatian) here.

At the hearing held on 11 February 2011, the Council President informed the parties and the audience that the trial against defendant Katica Maljković is discontinued due to her death.

JUDGEMENT

On 23 April 2012 the Vukovar County Court’s War Crimes Council pronounced a first-instance judgement rejecting the charge in respect of three defendants (Dušan Dobrić, Đuro Dobrić and Jovan Miljković), after the change of legal qualification into armed rebellion of the criminal offence stated in the indictment- thus the General Amnesty Act was applied.

Defendants Branislav Jerković, Jovo Janjić, Milenko Stojanović and Nikola Tintor are acquitted of the charge because of the lack of evidence to prove them guilty as charged in the indictment.

Defendants Miloš Stanimirović, Stevan Srdić, Dušan Stupar, Boško Miljković, Dragan Sedlić, Željko Krnjajić and Radoslav Stanimirović are found guilty and sentenced to the following prison terms: Miloš Stanimirović (10 years), Stevan Srdić (8 years), Dušan Stupar (6 years), Boško Miljković (8 years), Dragan Sedlić (6 years), Željko Krnjajić (6 years) and Radoslav Stanimirović (5 years).