The second repeated trial against the defendants Stevo Macakanja et al. for a war crime against civilians was concluded before the changed composition of the War Crimes Council of the Zadar County Court.
Due to erroneously and incompletely established facts, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia in a Ruling No. I-Kz-565/00 dated 19 December 2002, quashed the verdict of the Zadar County Court No. K-39/95 of 23 June 2000 and reversed the case to the Zadar County Court for a re-trial. The trial is conducted in the defendants’ absence.
The indictment issued by the Zadar County State’s Attorney’s Office (hereinafter: the ŽDO), No. KT-78/92 of 1 August 1995 charged the defendants, Stevo Macakanja, Željko Ležaja, Branko Kužet and Željko Cupać, that on 5 June 1992 in Korlat, at the temporarily occupied territory of the RoC, as members of paramilitary formations, during the armed conflict between rebel Serbs’ formations and armed forces of the RoC, together with five other unidentified unknown persons, decided to kill and abuse and killed civilian Milan Bulić.
Indictment (in Croatian)
The second repeated trial against the defendants Stevo Macakanja et al. for a war crime against civilians commenced before the War Crimes Council of the Zadar County Court on 30 March 2006.
Zadar County Court
Indictment No.: KT-78/92, of 1 August 1995, represented by the Zadar ŽDO
Number of the quashing ruling of the Supreme Court of the RoC: I Kž-565/00 of 19 December 2002, I Kž-682/03, of 29 September 2005
War Crimes Council: Judge Enka Moković, Council President; Judge Vladimir Mikolčević, Council member and Judge Boris Babić, Council member
Prosecuting attorney: Slobodan Denon, Deputy Zadar County State’s Attorney
Criminal act: war crime against civilians
Defendants: Stevo Macakanja, Željko Ležaja, Branko Kužet and Željko Cupać
Defence counsels: lawyer Ante Ivković – defence counsel of the defendant Stevo Macakanja, lawyer Ante Krajina – defence counsel of the defendant Željko Ležaja, lawyer Ivica Ivanić – defence counsel of the defendant Branko Kužet, lawyer Goran Nižić – defence counsel of the defendant Željko Cupać, all lawyers practising in Zadar
Victims: – killed Milan Bulić.
On 4 October 2006, the President of the War Crimes Council, Judge Enka Moković, pronounced the verdict No. K-70/05, which found the defendant Stevo Macakanja and the defendant Željko Ležaja guilty as charged.
- Stevo Macakanja was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
- Željko Ležaja was sentenced to 5 years in prison.
- The defendants Branko Kužet and Željko Cupać were acquitted of charges.
FINAL OPINION OF THE MONITORING TEAM
The War Crimes Council of the Zadar County Court in a changed composition conducted the second repeated criminal procedure against the defendants Stevo Macakanja, Željko Ležaja, Branko Kužet and Željko Cupać in a correct manner. The Council established that, out of the presented evidence and the established facts, it was not possible to conclude beyond any reasonable doubt that Branko Kužet and Željko Cupać were co-perpetrators of the criminal act referred to in Article 120, paragraph 1 of the OKZ RH or that they gave support to the 1st and the 2nd defendant and encouraged them in their actions towards the civilian Milan Bulić, as stated in the indictment.
It remains unclear due to which reasons the previous Council, in the first repeated procedure, failed to act according to the instructions provided by the Supreme Court of the RoC, as a result of which the procedure was unnecessarily delayed because the second repeated procedure had to be conducted, as well.
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