Documenta Welcomes Honouring of Grubori Victims

Total Croatia News



ZAGREB, Aug 25, 2020 – The Documenta Centre for Dealing with the Past on Tuesday welcomed “today’s step forward by government representatives and the honouring of the Grubori victims, hoping that it will soon be followed by the recognition of all civilian war victims’ rights and the intensifying of crime investigations.”

Although the facts relating to the commission of this crime have been established by domestic and international courts and human rights organisations, justice towards those killed has still not been served, Documenta said in a press release. “We remember the crime and call for admitting responsibility and ending the vow of silence.”

The press release said that on 25 August 1995, members of the ATJ Lucko special police unit were sent to Plavno, including the village Grubori in Knin municipality, and that between 30 and 40 divided into four groups.

Most of the remaining residents of Grubori had headed for Plavno to report to UNPROFOR, with only several, mainly elderly, staying behind. Those going to Plavno noticed a group of soldiers in the village and later heard shots and saw houses burning, after which they went back to Grubori, finding the bodies of six villagers.

Documenta said an investigation into the crime began only in 2001 after multiple queries by international institutions. In 2010, the Zagreb county prosecutor’s office indicted three ATJ Lucko members – Franjo Drljo, Bozo Krajina and Igor Beneta, who later hanged himself.

The Zagreb County Court found that the crime in Grubori was committed by members of the unit but all the defendants were acquitted. A 2016 retrial ended in the same way, with the court finding that “a very strong vow of silence” was at work and that it was unable to find that the defendants killed the civilians in Grubori.

The crime was covered by the verdict against Gotovina et al. before the Hague war crimes tribunal, but the panel of judges did not find the accused guilty, Documenta said.

In September 2019, the Croatian Supreme Court upheld the acquittal of Drljo and Krajina, ruling that “instead of effectively finding those responsible for the killing of civilians, just because they were Serbs, and for the burning of houses in the village of Grubori, just because Serbs lived in them, at work was a shameful fabrication about a Chetnik attack and a callous ignoring of a war crime against civilians,” Documenta said.

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