Tomislav Merčepp.jpg
Photograph: HINA/Fah

Wartime assistant interior minister Tomislav Mercep on Thursday was found guilty of committing war crimes against Serb civilians in the early 1990s and sentenced to five and a half years in prison.

Zagreb County Court judge Zdravko Majerovic said that Mercep was guilty because he failed to stop members of the unit under his command from committing crimes, thus giving them tacit permission to commit crimes while he was away.

Mercep was initially charged with ordering the alleged crimes, but last July the indictment was amended so that he was charged only with failure to stop his subordinates from committing the crimes.

The amended indictment also said that the members of the unit under Mercep's command had not been instructed of their obligations arising from the international laws of war, whereby Mercep gave them tacit approval for such actions.

His unit unlawfully arrested 52 persons in the Kutina, Pakrac and Zagreb areas, of whom 43 were killed, three are listed as missing and six survived torture and abuse.

The verdict gave details of the forced detention and torture of civilians and described situations in which victims were dispossessed of their valuables, such as cars and money.

The trial lasted four years.

Related stories

Latest news

Petrokemija posts HRK 87.3m loss in 2016

The Petrokemija artificial fertiliser manufacturer made HRK 1.93 billion in revenues in 2016, expenditures were HRK 2.02 billion and the loss was HRK 87.3 million, down 5.6% on the year, the Kutina-based plant said on Monday.

Wigemark says election legislation amendments of utmost importance for Bosnia

Wigemark said that amending the election legislation and continuing the process for joining the EU were the most important political processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Egyptian court upholds 10 death sentences in 2012 football riot

Ten defendants in a 2012 Egyptian football stadium riot, in which 74 people were killed, saw their death sentences upheld by an Egyptian court Monday.

Italian cops bust ring giving fake EU papers to 'enormous number'

Police said Monday they had busted a criminal ring that sold fake work papers to thousands of immigrants, allowing them to obtain Italian residency permits and access to the rest of the European Union.

Militants launch two rockets into Israel from Sinai

Two rockets fired from Egypt's Sinai peninsula landed in Israel on Monday.

US vice president reaffirms commitment to European Union

The United States remains committed to a "continued cooperation and partnership" with the European Union, US Vice President Mike Pence says.

Strike shuts museums and archaeological sites in Greece

The majority of archaeological sites and museums in Greece will remain closed on Monday.

Iran carries out more missile tests despite US pressure

Despite US sanctions, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard carried out more missile tests on Monday, part of three days of military manoeuvres.

Eleven injured as migrants storm Spanish enclave of Ceuta

Around 350 migrants managed to scale the 6-metre-high double border fence around the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in Morocco early Monday.

One Vietnamese sailor dead, seven abducted in attack off Philippines

Suspected pirates killed a crew member of a Vietnamese-flagged cargo ship and abducted seven in the latest attack in southern Philippine waters, coast guard officials said Monday.

Famine declared in parts of South Sudan - 100,000 facing starvation

More than 100,000 people are facing starvation in parts of violence-plagued South Sudan, three UN agencies said Monday as they declared famine in parts of the country.

North Korean envoy to Malaysia: 'We cannot trust the investigation'

North Korea "cannot trust the investigation" by Malaysian police into the death last week of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother, Pyongyang's ambassador to Malaysia said Monday.