The criminal procedure is currently conducted at the Bjelovar County Court against Vlado Gatarić, charged with a war crime against civilians referred to in Article 120, paragraph 1 of the Basic Criminal Law of the RoC (hereinafter: the OKZ RH).
The defendant was acquitted of charges in 1995, but in 1996 the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia quashed the first instance verdict of the Bjelovar County Court and reversed the case for a re-trial.
The indictment No. KT-178/95 of 31 June 1995 pressed charges against Ljuban Amidžić and 34 other defendants (including the 7th defendant Vlado Gatarić).
After the procedure in relation to Vlado Gatarić was separated in 2004, on 25 July 2008 the Bjelovar County State’s Attorney’s Office (hereinafter: the ŽDO) filed an adapted and modified indictment which charged the defendant that, together with the 1st defendant Ljuban Amidžić and other defendants, in the period starting from August 1991, during the war operations conducted against the Republic of Croatia at the temporarily occupied areas of the-then Daruvar Municipality, as a member of Serb terrorist armed formations within the so-called “Serb Autonomous Region of Western Slavonija”, in the capacity of deputy commander of a troop of armed formations in Batinjani, he issued orders to his subordinates and monitored their criminal activities. Thus, members of his troop and other unidentified persons conducted police and military apprehensions and detentions of civilians on a daily basis and wounded and killed civilian population with firearms and destroyed their property although there was no military justification for such actions, which is all contrary to the provisions of the Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, as well as Articles 4, 13 and 14 of the 6th Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 relative to the Protection of Victims of Non-international Armed Conflicts so that, in compliance with the issued orders within the joint plan in the area of activity of his troop:
– on 19 November 1991 in Vukovje, a group of armed terrorists shot Mija and Ivka Novaković and Štefica Kopriva in front of Mija Novaković’s house,
– on an unspecified date at the end of November 1991 in Koreničani, a group of armed terrorists killed Ivka and Milenko Fabijanec with firearms,
– on 14 December 1991 in Dobra Kuća, a group of armed terrorists killed Mila Paripović and Savka Bogdanović with firearms,
– during September and October 1991 in Vukovje, unidentified persons, members of armed Serb terrorist formations, set on fire the barn and shed to the house No. 12 and seized a tractor owned by Josip Kopriva, damaged the house with the explosive and set on fire the barn and shed to that house, owned by Zdravko Jergović, set on fire the house, barn and shed owned by Stoja Novaković, as well as the barn and shed owned by Nada Plicko,
therefore, having breached the rules of the international humanitarian law in time of armed conflict, he ordered attacks on civilian population, their killing and unlawful huge scale destruction of their property, which was not justified by military needs,
whereby he committed a criminal act against humanity and international humanitarian law – a war crime against civilians referred to in Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZ RH.
Bjelovar County Court
Case number : K 18/04
War Crimes Council: Judge Antonija Bagarić, Council President, Judge Milenka Slivar, Council member, Judge Mladen Piškorec, Council member
Indictment: issued by the Bjelovar ŽDO, No. K-DO-54/04 on 25 July 2008
Prosecuting attorney: Branka Merzić, Deputy Bjelovar County State’s Attorney
Criminal act: war crime against civilians referred to in Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZ RH
Defendant: Vlado Gatarić, defends himself at large (he was in detention from 4 May until 9 October 1995)
Sel defence counsel of the defendant: Jovan Doneski, a lawyer practising in Garešnica
– killed: Mijo Novaković, Ivka Novaković and Štefica Kopriva (inhabitants of the village of Vukovje), Ivka Fabijanec and Milenko Fabijanec (inhabitants of the village of Koreničani), Mila Paripović and Savka Bogdanović (inhabitants of the village of Dobra Kuća)
The main hearing was supposed to commence on 26 January 2009, but due to non-arrival of the defendant it was postponed. Four witnesses were heard before the Extra-trial Chamber.
The main hearing will be subsequently scheduled in writing.