Jail Sentences Increased in Croatian Wartime Detention Camp Trial

Croatia's High Criminal Court on Monday increased the sentence handed down to Lora military prison commander Tomislav Duic from eight-and-a-half to ten years in prison for war crimes against civilian detainees at the Lora military prison.

The court also increased the sentence handed down to guard Emilio Bungur from four-and-a-half to eight years in prison.

The previous sentences handed down by Split County Court caused anger among former inmates of the Lora military prison.

The prison in Split was used during the war in Croatia to hold Serbs, both civilians and soldiers, who had been captured in Croatia but also in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Inmates were subjected to torture, abuse and humiliation.

The Lora case has dragged on for more than 15 years. It initially started as two cases, Lora 1 and Lora 2.

Lora 1 concerned the mistreatment, beating and torture of Serb civilians, two of whom were killed. Lora 2 concerned the mistreatment, beating and torture of Serb military prisoners, three of whom were killed.

Both Duic and Bungur were initially convicted in absentia in the Lora 1 case in 2007. After a decade on the run, Bungur was arrested in 2015 and Duic in 2016.

They were then tried again, due to the first verdict having been handed down in absentia, and were also tried in the case known as Lora 2. The two cases were then merged.

The High Criminal Court said in its reasoning for increasing their sentences that the first-instance court did not sufficiently consider as aggravating circumstances the fact that three prisoners of war died as a result of being beaten. Two of them were conscripts, and therefore younger, the court also said.

The High Criminal Court also said it considered as aggravating...

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