Two NGOs Warn about Procrastination in War Crimes Trials

Total Croatia News

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The two NGOs underlined the problem of delays in trying war crimes on the occasion of European Day for Victims of Crime, and warned that in 2020 trial dates had not been set for numerous war crimes.

“This refers to criminal proceedings for war crimes and crimes against humanity at the trial stage. In most cases presenting evidence lasts two to three years and even longer. Due to statutory limitations, hearings are often re-started from the beginning and witnesses who have testified are subpoenaed to testify again,” the NGOs said in a press release.

The NGOs listed a few procedures before Zagreb County Court and in one case only one hearing has been held while other trials are being adjourned.

The NGOs also underlined the retrial against Branimi Glavaš et al for war crimes committed in Osijek for which a retrial began in mid-2019 and by March 2020 only three witnesses had testified and to this day not one hearing was schedule after that.

The NGOs believe that this is an attempt to eliminate incriminating witness testimonies against Glavaš in the case dubbed Garage and that dividing the case is an attempt to eliminate testimonies by co-defendants who have testified against Glavaš in the case later dubbed Duct-tape.

The NGOs warned of criminal trials in Osijek County Court too for crimes committed in the Veleproment POW camp in Vukovar and the Serb POW camps in Begejci, Stajićevo and Sremska Mitrovica in Serbia and that not one hearing had not been scheduled in 2020 for that case as prescribed by law. 

“It is impermissible that judicial bodies allow procedures to take so long, too long, thus incurring significant costs and time as this does not only question whether these trials are economical but they also undermine the rights of defendants as well as the rights of victims and their families and raise the question of citizens’ trust in the efficiency of the legal state and rule of law,” the NGOs said in their press release.


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