Press conference on the case of Medacki dzep
Members of the Human Rights House of Zagreb, Documenta and GOLJP, organized a press conference in the late March, on occasion of the verdict on appeal in the case against the accused Rahim Ademi and Mirko Norac for crimes committed in the Medacki dzep (Medak Pocket).
Thursday, 01 April 2010, by HRH Sarajevo
Verdict on appeal in the case against the accused Rahim Ademi and Mirko Norac for crimes committed in the Medacki dzep (Medak Pocket), showed that the justice has not come even half way in the prosecution of those responsible for serious crimes in which were killed dozens of civilians (about 40 bodies were organizedly hidden - picked up and dumped into the septic tank and buried) and the destruction of more than a hundred houses and a number of commercial buildings in the villages Rajcevic, Krajnovic, Potkonjaci, Drljici, Strunici, Veliki Kraj, Donje Selo and Divoselo (on right: Medacki dzep battle map) which prevented the return of civilians to their homes and all these villages still remained uninhabited.
The Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia by its ruling from 18 November 2009 (no. Kz and 1008/08,), confirmed the acquittal of the accused Rahim Ademi and partially modified the sentence for the accused Mirko Norac, whose previously imposed prison sentence was reduced from 7 to 6 years.
Accoding to Documenta and GOLJP, professionally conducted trial and performance of careful analysis of evidence, have largely determined the scale of crimes that were committed, and the exact chain of command on which the court found who is responsible for crimes committed in the Medacki dzep, and also who are the other persons for which there is basis for criminal prosecution. Condemning part of the verdict included only 5 of 32 victims in the indictment, in large part because the trial showed that those victims were not in the zone of responsibility of the Special Police over which the defendants did not have the control.
The Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia also confirmes the first-instance court trial that the accused Mirko Norac cannot be responsible for the consequences which were produced by his subordinates, on the first day of action - 09/09/1993, because he did not commanded the actions that they have taken on that day. This standpoint is the reason why 7 persons, for whom the court found that the were civilian victims of war crime, are not covered by the verdict and will not be able to seek redress on the basis of a final verdict.
In the opinion of Documenta and GOLJP, such a ruling creates a judicial practice that command responsibility by omission is interpreted in the narrowest possible way, and pronouncing a mild punishment minimizes the suffering of victims as well as command responsibility for crimes committed by members of the Croatian troops.
Documenta and GOLJP believe that the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Attorney of the Republic of Croatia should start criminal proceedings against the chief delegates of the General Staff of Croatian Army, most importantly Davor Domazet Losa, but also those who were commanded by the zone of responsibility of the Special Police and against those who were in this trial identified as possible direct perpetrators.
''We expect the acceleratation of this process and we are ready to support criminal charges raised by families of the victims against accused and suspected individuals who were in command of the war crimes. We also expect that the State Attorney investigates the basis of suspicion of false testimony regarding the testimony of all those who have argued the opposite of the facts set forth in the final verdict'', it is stated by Documenta and GOLJP on their press conference.
However, despite the expectation of continuing prosecution of crimes in Medacki dzep, the recognition of suffering in today, devastated and deserted villages, solidarity with the families of victims and ensuring of the reparation of their homes, cannot only be the task of institution of prosecution and the judiciary, but also the obligations of other governmental, social and scientific institutions.
''How are we, as a society, to remember the crimes which were committed in a place where today there is not one memorial plaque, this is a question for public consultation of every conscientious person, and not only for justice sector in the Republic of Croatia'', it is stated on the press conference.
Based on information provided by Documenta