Croatia Criticised for ‘Slow Justice’ in War Crime Trials

Two Croatian human rights organisations criticised Croatia for the "slow processing of war crimes" in a statement to mark the European Day for Victims of Crime on Monday.

"Criminal proceedings for war crimes are undoubtedly of special importance… Their effective implementation guarantees justice for the victims," said the Zagreb-based Documenta - Centre for Dealing with the Past and the Osijek-based Centre for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights.

They pointed out that in a number of ongoing war crimes trials, no hearings have been scheduled over the past year.

One of these is the decade-long legal process in the case against Croatian MP and wartime general Branimir Glavas, who has been tried repeatedly for crimes against Serb civilians in the eastern city of Osijek in 1991.

"The retrial of defendant Branimir Glavas and others for crimes in Osijek began again on June 3, 2019. The largest concentration of hearings followed in November 2019, after which the court refused for months to directly question the seriously ill Nikola Jaman, a key witness for part of the indictment," the two rights groups said.

"Then on March 9, 2020, three defence witnesses testified, and up to today, no [more] hearings have been scheduled to continue the trial," they added.

The Glavas case will be even further prolonged because the presiding judge in the trial at Zagreb County Court, was named as a judge on the newly-established High Criminal Court and her current cases, including Glavas, will now be distributed to other judges.

The two rights groups also noted that hearings in war crimes trials at Osijek County Court - for example, cases related to the fall of the town of Vukovar in 1991 and crimes committed in Serbian-run detention camps -...

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