Drljo, Krajina acquitted again in retrail for Grubori war crimes

Former members of the Lucko Police Anti-Terrorist Unit Frano Drljo and Bozo Krajina were acquitted again on Friday for lack of evidence in a retrial for the murder of six Serb civilians in Grubori village near Knin following the Croatian army and police Operation Storm in August 1995.

The verdict is not final and can be appealed.

The two have denied their involvement in the crime from the start. Drljo said the crime alleged in the indictment appalled him as "an officer, believer and human being."

During the original trial in 2014, Drljo and Krajina were acquitted for lack of evidence, but the Supreme Court last year upheld the prosecutor's appeal and ordered a retrial before a new panel of judges.

Drljo was charged with direct involvement in the killing of six people and failure to prevent his subordinates from committing the murders and setting fire to the victims' houses, while Krajina was charged on command responsibility.

During the first trial and the retrial, a number of special police forces' members took the witness stand, including wartime special police commander Zeljko Sacic, who has been indicted in separate proceedings for failure to prevent the crime or punish its perpetrators. The wartime commander of all special police forces, Mladen Markac, also took the witness stand, saying that nobody asked him about Grubori until 2001, although he had prepared an extensive file with statements by all commanders in the field.

Igor Beneta, another indictee charged with the Grubori crimes, was found hanged in a forest in the Zadar region in April 2011. His identity was confirmed with a DNA test in late 2011. Police reported the incident as a suicide, however, Sacic claimed that Beneta had been murdered.

Last update: Wed, 22/06/2016 - 15:02

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