European Court Orders Croatia to Compensate Daughters of Killed Serb

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled on Thursday that Croatia must pay 5,000 euros in compensation because five Serb women whose father was killed during the Croatian Army's Operation Storm in 1995 were unlawfuly made to pay court costs in a civil case they launched against the state in the domestic courts.

Croatia was also ordered to pay 2,000 for their costs at the European Court of Human Rights.

"In the particular circumstances of the present case, the court considers that ordering the applicants to bear the full costs of the state's representation in the civil proceedings amounted to a disproportionate burden on them," the ECHR said in its decision.

Their father, identified only by the initials I.D., who was 86 at the time of Operation Storm in 1995, remained in his house in the unrecognised rebel statelet of the Republic of Serbian Krajina in Croatia during Operation Storm, along with his wife, identified as Dj.D., and the two plaintiffs' aunt, B.O.

He was killed on August 6, 1995 when he went to feed the cows, according to Dj.D. and B.O.

They saw him talk to Croatian soldiers from the orchard near the house where they were hiding, and then heard gunshots. When the soldiers had left they went to the house and found his body.

He was buried in September 1995 and exhumed, together with 158 other bodies, on the order of an investigative judge in 2002. An autopsy concluded that the cause of death was gunshot wounds to the head, torso and limbs.

In September 2005, his daughters lodged a civil claim against the state, alleging that their father had been killed by Croatian soldiers.

They sought 20,000 Croatian kunas (over 2,600 euros) for pecuniary damages and 220,000 kunas (over 29,000 euros)...

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