Five members of a wartime Serb police special purposes unit have been found guilty of war crimes committed in Udbina in August 1991, while two others have been acquitted for lack of evidence.
Rijeka County Court on Tuesday sentenced Dane Radocaj Gajota and Nikola Curuvija in absentia to 15 years' imprisonment. Djordje Kosanovic was sentenced to 12 years, Radoslav Korac to 10 years and Dragan Galovic to six years. Two others were acquitted of charges of direct involvement in the murder of two Bosniaks.
The charges against the seven accused were brought by the Gospic County Prosecutor's Office in 2008 based on an initial trial launched in 1992 in Knin, which was then under rebel Serb control.
In the meantime all seven became inaccessible to Croatia's judiciary and were therefore tried in absentia.
The five were found guilty of the murder of two Bosniaks who had been arrested in Udbina and taken to the command office under the command of Dane Radocaj Gajota. A third Bosniak who had been arrested with them was released.
One of the prisoners died as a result of being beaten while in detention. The other was shot and dumped in a ditch. Their bodies were retrieved a month later and handed over to their families. Five of the accused admitted to the crime during the trial in Knin.
Both the murders were assessed as war crimes because of the intention to scare off and expel the Croatian and Bosniak population in and around Udbina, the court said.