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The Supreme Court of the RC, at the session of the Panel held on 4 February 2009, rejected the appeals and upheld the verdict of the War Crime Council of the Osijek County Court dated 29 November 2007 which found the defendant Vlastimir Denčić guilty of a war crime against civilians and sentenced him to four years and six months in prison, while the defendant Zoran Kecman was acquitted of charges for the same criminal act.

INDICTMENT (SUMMARY)

The defendants were charged that, on 18 April 1992 in Dalj, with the intention to expel non-Serb civilians and make the occupied area ethnically clean, together with the defendants Borivoj Milinković, Đorđe Čalošević, Boško Bolić, Georgije Milinković, Pero Đurić, Milorad Lončarević, Jovan Milinković, Đorđe Važić and Ilija Utvić and with the assistance of several unidentified members of Serb paramilitary formations, forcibly expelled 104 non-Serb citizens from their homes.

MONITORING REPORTS

The proceedings were held before the War Crime Council comprising Judge Krunoslav Barkić (Council President); Judge Katica Krajnović (Council member); and Judge Anto Rašić (Council member).

The Prosecuting Attorney was Miroslav Bušbaher, Osijek County Deputy State’s Attorney. 

Defence counsels: Tomislav Filaković (for the 1st defendant) and Dragutin Mioč (for the 2nd defendant)

VERDICT 

The verdict was published on 29 November 2007. The defendant Denčić was non-finally sentenced to four years and six months in prison. The defendant Kecman was non-finally acquitted of charges.

You can read the verdict of the Osijek County Court here (pdf, 4,23 MB).

The public session of the Supreme Court was held on 4 February 2009. The Panel of the Supreme Court rejected the appeals lodged by the defendant Denčić and the County State’s Attorney and upheld the verdict of the first instance court.

You can read the verdict of the Supreme Court here.

OPINION OF THE MONITORING TEAM FOLLOWING THE CONCLUDED FIRST INSTANCE PROCEDURE

The procedure was properly conducted.

In the case against Vlastimir Denčić and Zoran Kecman, charged with a war crime against civilians pursuant to Article 120, paragraph 1 of the Basic Criminal Law of the Republic of Croatia committed by the expulsion of 140 non-Serb citizens from Dalj on 18 April 1992 (Holy Saturday, or Easter Eve according to the Gregorian Calendar), the War Crime Council of the Osijek County Court convicted the defendant Denčić and sentenced him to four and a half years in prison, while the defendant Kecman was acquitted of charges.

The procedure was properly conducted. During the procedure, 28 witness statements were given or read in court – the witnesses mainly being the expelled citizens of Dalj. Only one piece of suggested evidence was rejected (the evidence suggested by the prosecution and accepted by the defence), pertaining to the motion to question an ill witness on the circumstances to which her family members had already testified.

The only objections raised at the main hearing were the objections of the defendant Denčić’s defence counsel against witness statements, which had been accepted by the Court and later heavily referred to in the explanation of the convicting part of the verdict.

We believe that the fact that the defendant was a member of the Interim Police Force under UN jurisdiction, and later a member of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia, should not have been viewed as an extenuating circumstance while considering the sentence.