The trial in absentia of Milan Martic, the war-time leader of rebel Serbs in Croatia, for the shelling of Croatian cities in May 1995, started this week at Zagreb County Court and about 100 witnesses will be examined, mostly victims of those events.
Martic, who is currently serving a 35-year sentence in Estonia for war crimes in Croatia, is being tried for the shelling of Zagreb, Karlovac and Jastrebarsko. The then military commander of the Republika Srpska Krajina, Milan Celeketic, is also being tried in absentia along with Martic.
In addition to examining witnesses, the trial will inspect documentation, the court has reported. According to some estimates, the first instance ruling could be delivered by the end of the year.
The Zagreb County Prosecution raised an indictment against Martic and Celeketic in January 2003 for their involvement in a retaliatory attack on Croatian cities following the 1995 military and police Operation Flash.
The decision to raise the indictment before a Croatian court was adopted following information that the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, which had already charged Martic for the shelling of Zagreb, did not intend to charge Celeketic too, and the fact that the ICTY indictment did not cover the shelling of Karlovac or Jastrebarsko.
Croatian prosecutorial authorities have accused Martic and Celeketic for crimes against humanity and war crimes against civilians.