Crime in Kopačevo

Trial against Aleksandar Čugalj and Branimir Ivanović, charged with a war crime against civilians under Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZRH.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Osijek County Court

Case file no.: K-47/94

Judges’ panel (the Council): judge Bogdan Penjić, Council President; judge Mladen Filipović, Council Member; lay judges Marija Vargić, Mirko Tutnjević and Marko Relati, Council Members

Indictment: No. KT-44/94 of 11 May 1994 issued by the Osijek County Deputy State’s Attorney

Prosecution: Željko Krpan

Criminal offence: war crime against civilians under Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZRH

Defendants: Aleksandar Čugalj and Branimir Ivanović, unavailable

Defence: Julka Bandić and Hrvoje Banić, lawyers practicing in Osijek

Victim: one female person raped (name not disclosed)

VERDICT (SUMMARY)

In the Osijek County Court’s verdict of 19 October 1994, defendants Aleksandar Čugalj and Branimir Ivanović were found guilty that in their capacity as members of the so-called Krajina Militia intending to intimidate, maltreat and force to move out remaining civilian population of non-Serb ethnicity, together with three more unidentified members of the so-called Krajina Militia, armed with handguns, hand grenades and knives entered one family house (surname not disclosed) in Kopačevo, the Beli Manastir municipality on 25 December 1991 about 23,00 hours and ordered one female person (name not disclosed) to come to the dining room while forcing into bedrom her husband, son and other family members; and under the threat that they would throw a handgrenade on the bed where her son was, all five men had sexual intercourse with her whereby Čugalj instigated Ivanović saying: “Knock the whore up to give birth to a Serb child and not Hungarian bastard!”; when leaving the house after that, Branimir Ivanović made a verbal threat that he would blow up the house together with all household members if she told anyone about that and thus, in fear for their lives, the injured party left Kopačevo on 1 January 1992 and found shelter in the Republic of Hungary.

The defendants were sentenced to 10 (ten) years in prison.

The Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia, at its session held on 6 July 1995, accepted the state attorney’s appeal and rendered the verdict in which it amended the first-instance court verdict in the sentence section and convicted Čugalj and Ivanović to 15 (fifteeen) years of imprisonment each.