16:55 / 23.09.2022.

Author: Branko Lozančić

Serbia: Croatian pilots summoned for trial on October 14

Summons sent from Serbia to Croatian pilots

Summons sent from Serbia to Croatian pilots

Foto: Illustration / Shutterstock

The High Court in Belgrade sent a summons to the trial of four Croatian pilots, accused of rocketing a column of refugees on the Petrovačka road, near Bosanski Petrovac, in August 1995, Belgrade lawyer Aleksandar Olenik, assigned by the Serbian judiciary as a public defense attorney, confirmed for the Hina news agency on Friday. 

Along with the summons for the trial, scheduled for October 14, the court, through state bodies, sent Vladimir Mikac, Zdenko Radulja, Željko Jelenić and Danijel Borović an indictment, brought by the Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor's Office for war crimes against the civilian population.

That prosecution accused members of the Croatian Air Force Vladimir Mikac (67) from Ptuj, Zdenko Radulj (69) from Osijek, Željko Jelenić (69) from Pula and Danijel Borović (64) from Varaždin that on August 7 and 8, 1995, they ordered rocketing of a column of refugees on the Petrovačka road near Bosanski Petrovac and in Svodna near Novi Grad (formerly Bosanski Novi).

Their actions, according to the indictment, "resulted in the death and wounding of several civilians of Serbian nationality", whose names, along with their birth years, were listed in the indictment, which pointed out that four children were among the victims.

Lawyer Aleksandar Olenik, who is the ex-officio defense counsel of defendant Mikac, said that it is not yet known whether the defendants will be tried in absentia, as proposed by the Prosecutor's Office, considering that they are unavailable to the Serbian judiciary.

“The reason why the court has not yet made that decision is very simple - the defendants' answers to the invitations that have now been sent to them for the first time through state bodies are being awaited,” Olenik told Hina.

He confirmed that he is not in contact with his client Vladimir Mikac.

“In the next ten days, within the judicial deadlines, I will check whether there is an answer from the Croatian side, although I assume what it will be, considering the previous official positions in Zagreb and the messages of the Croatian authorities that they will stand in defense of the pilots,” said Olenik.

Deputy Prime Minister Tomo Medved pointed out at the end of August, at a meeting with four Croatian Air Force pilots who took part in the Military Police Operation “Storm”, that the Croatian state, its institutions, and especially the Government, will use all mechanisms to effectively protect pilots from accusations from Serbia.

Defense Minister Mario Banožić said then that Croatian pilots will receive clear instructions on how to behave in the current situation, stressing that Croatia will do everything to prevent something bad from happening to them.

The Minister of Administration and Justice, Ivan Malenica, sent a similar message to the pilots, pointing out that Croatia will provide them with full legal support and prevent the issuance of an international arrest warrant.

In this case, Croatia does not recognize the jurisdiction of the Serbian judiciary.

Source: HRT

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