The Croatian Supreme Court has increased the prison term for wartime assistant interior minister Tomislav Mercep from five and a half years to seven years for failing in his capacity as a police unit commander to prevent members of his unit from killing Serb civilians at the start the war in the early 1990s.
Deciding on the appeals filed by the State Attorney's Office and the defence, the Supreme Court partly upheld the arguments of the prosecution and increased the sentence, while all other appeal arguments were dismissed as unfounded, according to the final verdict which was submitted to the Zagreb County Court and Mercep on Monday.
Mercep was remanded in Zagreb's Remetinec Prison after the announcement of the trial court judgment on May 12, 2016. He had claimed he was innocent from the start, denying he had commanded the unit that was named after him. He was initially charged with ordering the crimes alleged, but the indictment was later modified and he was charged with failure to prevent his subordinates from committing the crimes.
The indictment says that Mercep's unit unlawfully arrested 52 persons in the Kutina, Pakrac and Zagreb areas, killing 43 of them. Three are still unaccounted for, while six survived torture and abuse.