European Court of Human Rights Rules in Favour of Croatia

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, January 29, 2018 – The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Croatia did not “violate the right to life” because it conducted an efficient investigation into the circumstances of the death of a man identified by his initials P.M. at Žegar near Obrovac, in the south of the country, in the course of Croatia’s military and police operation Storm on 5 August 1995.

After the family of the deceased sued the state seeking damages in 2005, the police launched an investigation into his killing and interviewed a witness, establishing that during the Homeland War P.M. had joined village guard units in the occupied territory, the office of the Croatian representative at the Strasbourg-based court said on Monday.

It added that in August 2015 the police received an anonymous report alleging that 12 elderly people had been killed at the Milica Pećina location, including P.M. The police interviewed residents of Žegar, who did not have any knowledge of any crimes committed at that site, a cave, but said that five armed members of Serb paramilitary units, including P.M., had been killed in an armed conflict with Croatian Army troops during Operation Storm.

The police also interviewed members of the Croatian Army who did not have any information about a possible crime committed there. The Zadar County Prosecutor’s Office on 1 October 2015 closed the case and suspended any further investigation after the information from the anonymous report proved false.

Meanwhile, in 2014 civil proceedings in this case initiated by the deceased’s family were ended.

The ECHR ruled that the investigation by the Croatian police could be considered efficient and that the applicant’s right to life in the case was not violated as the response by the relevant authorities was appropriate, the office of the Croatian representative at the ECHR said.

The ECHR finding in the case is not final and will become final if the parties to the proceedings do not lodge an appeal against it within three months from its publication.


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