Croatia Indicts Serb Paramilitary For Torturing Prisoner


By Anja Vladisavljevic

The unnamed former Serb paramilitary was charged with abusing and torturing a captured Croatian soldier in the town of Vukovar in November 1991.

The County State Attorney’s Office in Osijek on Monday charged a 50-year-old Serbian citizen with committing war crimes against a Croatian prisoner of war.

The Serbian, a member of the Leva Supoderica paramilitary unit, is accused of abusing and torturing the prisoner, who was a 21-year-old member of Croatia’s First Guard Brigade in Vukovar in November 1991, along with two other members of the unit.

The Croatian Interior Ministry said in a statement that the victim was brought from the Ovcara area to the Velepromet industrial storage site, where Croatian civilians and members of the Croatian armed forces were detained after the fall of Vukovar to Serbian forces.

The paramilitaries then took him to a house in Vukovar, where some members of the Serbian paramilitary unit was based.

After being abused, he was taken to a camp in Serbia which, together with other prisoners from the Vukovar area, where he was held until a prisoner exchange in 1992.

The former paramilitary who was charged cannot be arrested because he is not in Croatia.

Vukovar was besieged from late August 1991 by the Yugoslav People’s Army and Serbian paramilitaries.

The defenders of the Croatian town surrendered on November 18, after which all the non-Serb population was expelled, and a number of prisoners of war and civilians were deported to prisons and detention camps in Serbia, while 260 people were executed at the nearby Ovcara farm and in other places.

Ovcara became the biggest mass grave of the war in Croatia.

Over 3,000 soldiers and civilians died during the siege of Vukovar and its aftermath, 86 of them children.

After being under the control of rebel Croatian Serbs for four years, Vukovar was peacefully reintegrated into Croatia under the Erdut peace agreement in 1996 and 1997.

In January this year, a Serbian court jailed eight former members of the Serb Territorial Defence force in Vukovar for a total of 101 years for the massacre of around 200 people at Ovcara.

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (formerly the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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