The Sisak County Court, in the re-opened proceedings against Petar Baltić and ten other persons validly sentenced in 1993 in absentia to 20 years in prison each for a war crime against civilians and a war crime against war prisoners, after the prosecution dropped charges, annulled the previous (convicting) verdict and passed the verdict in which the indictment was suspended.
The indictment issued by the Sisak District Public Prosecutor’s Office No. KT-168/92 dated 26 November 1992 charged the defendant Đuro Birač, as manager of the Glina Prison and other 11 defendants as prison guards that, in the period between 26 June 1991 and 31 March 1992 in Glina, as members of chetnik-terrorist formations of the so-called SAO Krajina, the defendant Birač ordered and other defendants executed that order to detain captured civilians and members of the Croatian National Guard (hereinafter: the ZNG) into solitary cells, to torture and beat them, as a result of which numerous civilians and captured members of the ZNG sustained multiple severe physical injuries, while one civilian (Ivo Palajić) and two captured members of the ZNG (Stjepan Šmisl and Ivan Gregurić) died as a result of injuries sustained, whereby the defendants committed the criminal acts of a war crime against civilians and a war crime against war prisoners.
You can see the abovementioned indictment here. (in Croatian)
Course of the proceedings
The defendants were tried in absentia.
In the verdict No. K-25/92 passed by the Sisak District Court on 22 January 1993, the defendants were found guilty for both criminal acts and each defendant was sentenced to 20 years in prison for each criminal act, so that each defendant was sentenced to a joint prison sentence in the duration of 20 years.
On 7 December 1993, the Supreme Court of the RoC denied the appeals lodged by the defence counsels of the convicts Milan Ljubičić and Dragan Matijević and fully upheld the verdict of the first instance court.
You can see the verdict of the Supreme Court here. (in Croatian)
However, on 6 February 2009, the Sisak County State’s Attorney’s Office (hereinafter: the ŽDO) filed a request for re-opening of the criminal proceedings with regard to II-XII convicts (Petar Baltić, Stevan Bjelajac, Đuka Bogunović, Milan Ljubičić, Vlado Ćordaš, Dragan Tintor, Petar Vladić, Dragan Matijević, Ilija Baždar and Rade Baždar). The request was not filed only with regard to the 1st convict Đuro Birač.
You can see the request for re-opening of the criminal proceedings by the Sisak ŽDO No. KT-168/92 of 6 February 2009 here. (in Croatian)
The ruling of the Sisak County Court No. Kv 135/09 (K-25/92) of 8 July 2009 accepted the request by the Sisak ŽDO and the re-opening of the criminal proceedings was allowed.
You can see the abovementioned ruling here. (in Croatian)
In the re-opened proceedings, after the prosecution dropped charges, the Court annulled the previous convicting verdict and suspended the indictment.
Sisak County Court
Case number: K- 33/09
War Crime Council: Judge Melita Avedić, Council President; Judge Ljubica Baldar, Council member; Judge Višnja Vukić, Council member
Indictment: issued by the Sisak District Public Prosecutor’s Office No. KT-168/92 dated 26 November 1992
Prosecution: Ivan Petrkač, Sisak County Deputy State’s Attorney
Criminal act: war crime against civilians and a war crime against war prisoners
The defendants (re-opened proceedings): Petar Baltić, Stevan Bjelajac, Đuka Bogunović, Milan Ljubičić, Vlado Ćordaš, Dragan Tintor, Petar Vladić, Ilija Đaković, Dragan Matijević, Ilija Baždar and Rade Baždar, they were tried in absentia
Defence counsels: Domagoj Rupčić, Danko Kovač, Zorko Kostanjšek, Mario Milardović, Željko Andrijević, Željko Stanković, Nada Kovačević, Dragan Crnković, Nataša Čučić, Irena Periček, Dinko Ocvarek
– abused (sustained multiple severe physical injuries): Stjepan Milošić, Joso Mlađenović, Ivo Kocmanić, Pavao Štajduhar, Stjepan Benković, Branko Žilić, Vojislav Skendžić, Ivica Pereković and Željko Ponižić
– died as a result of injuries sustained: Ivo Palajić
– war prisoners:
– died as a result of injuries sustained: Stjepan Šmisl and Ivo Gregurić
On 24 November 2009, after the prosecution dropped charges, the War Crimes Council passed a verdict which annulled the previous convicting verdict and passed the acquitting verdict and suspended the indictment.
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