For Victims of Croatia’s ‘Lora’ Prison, Justice Proves Elusive
April 6 brought another milestone in one of the longest-running war crimes processes in Croatia, when the County Court in the coastal city of Split sentenced two men to prison for war crimes against mainly Serb detainees at the city's 'Lora' military prison during the 1991-95 Croatian war.
Former prison commander Tomislav Duic was sentenced to eight and a half years and prison guard Emilio Bungur to four years and ten months.
Should Duic and Bunger appeal, however, a final verdict might not yet come for years.
Thirty years since they were imprisoned and abused in Lora, and twenty years after the original indictments were filed, many of the hundreds of victims are still waiting for justice.
Ringed by barbed wire, Lora was a military prison within the Lora Naval Military Base in Croatia's second city, Split. Lora originally belonged to the Yugoslav National Army, JNA, but was taken over by the Croatian army when war broke out in 1991.
It became a holding cell mainly for Serbs, both civilians and soldiers, captured in Croatia but also in Bosnia and Herzegovina and imprisoned by members of the 72nd Military Police Battalion without any legal basis.
The detainees were exposed to torture, abuse and humiliation. The exact number of victims has never been precisely determined, but the Serbian National Council, SNV, an association of the Serb minority in Croatia, says that more than 1,100 were imprisoned in Lora.
Croatian indictments in the case list the names of five detainees who were murdered; NGOs who have investigated Lora talk of "several dozen" who were killed, while some former detainees say roughly sixty went missing.
That something was going on was known from the very start. Local Split newspaper Slobodna...