“I’m not guilty. They accursed an innocent man,” accepted Branimir Glavas said in 2010 afterwards accepting account that the Croatian Supreme Cloister had bedevilled him to eight years in bastille for war crimes.
“If the lath of the Supreme Cloister accept absolutely begin that I am accusable of barbarous crimes adjoin the noncombatant citizenry at the time of the Homeland War [Croatia’s 1990s war], afresh the cloister should appoint the best assigned bastille book [20 years] on me,” Glavas declared.
As the administrator of the defence armament in the eastern Croatian burghal of Osijek, Glavas was begin accusable of acclimation the executions of seven, mostly Croatian Serb civilians in 1991. The cloister accustomed that he founded and armed a appropriate aggressive assemblage accepted in Osijek beneath assorted names – the Protective Troop or Branimir’s Osijek Battalion – and acted as its able commander.
Glavas’s acknowledged marathon: timeline
July 2005: The accompaniment attorney’s office, DORH, confirms it has testimonies on the killing of Serbs in Osijek in 1991 and 1992
December 2005: Glavas interrogated in Osijek
June 2006: The accompaniment attorney’s appointment opens an analysis into Glavas
October 2006: Glavas arrested over the ‘Garage’ case and put in adjourn prison; DORH opens an analysis for the ‘Sellotape’ case
December 2006: Glavas appear from remand, afterwards a 37-days-long ache bang from prison, and the analysis was stopped.
April 2007: DORH files an allegation for the ‘Sellotape’ case, Glavas afresh transferred to adjourn prison, area he starts a 24-day ache strike
May 2007: DORH files an allegation for the ‘Garage’ case
October 2007: Glavas’s balloon starts afore Zagreb canton court
November 2007: Glavas starts a 65-day ache strike
January 2008: Afterwards assembly did not band him of his immunity, Glavas is accustomed to avert himself on bail
May 2009: Zagreb canton cloister sentences Glavas to ten years in prison; the aforementioned day Glavas flees to Bosnia and Herzegovina
July 2010: Croatia’s Supreme Cloister upholds the 2009 conviction, blurred the book to eight years
December 2010: the Cloister of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirms the verdict; Glavas is transferred to bastille in Zenica and afterwards Mostar
January 2015: Croatia’s Constitutional Cloister quashes Glavas’s final verdict
July 2016: Croatia’s Supreme Cloister quashes Glavas’s first-degree verdict
October 2017: Glavas’s balloon starts afresh afore Zagreb canton court
His balloon amid two cases, codenamed ‘Garage’ and ‘Sellotape’.
In the ‘Garage’ case, noncombatant Cedomir Vuckovic was affected to alcohol car array acerbic in a barn in September 1991. Back he ran out in pain, he was attempt by Krunoslav Fehir, affiliate of the 1st Battalion of Osijek Defenders, allowable by Glavas.
Vuckovic died from the after-effects of the poisoning. Glavas afresh allegedly came from his adjacent appointment and ordered that a additional prisoner, Dordje Petkovic, should be executed.
In the ‘Sellotape’ case, Glavas’s assemblage arrested six civilians in November and December 1991 – Branko Lovric, Alija Sabanovic, Milutin Kutlic, Svetislav Vukajlovic, Bogdan Pocuca and an anonymous woman in Osijek – afresh bent them in a basement in the city. They were afresh brought to the Drava riverbank, area the assemblage associates accomplished them, with their easily angry abaft their backs with sellotape.
One civilian, Radoslav Ratkovic, was attempt in the audacity and threw into the river, but managed to survive and swam away. Through his absolute accessory Gordana Getos Magdic, Glavas ordered that addition from the assemblage go to the hospital and assassinate Ratkovic – although the adjustment was not agitated out.
Despite all the facts about the crimes accustomed by Zagreb canton cloister at the aboriginal balloon in 2009 and the accepted by the Supreme Cloister in 2010, Glavas is a still a chargeless man and is currently continuing over the two cases afore Zagreb canton cloister again, 26 years afterwards the crimes.
Some commentators accept appropriate that his political influence, which was bolstered by the affair he co-founded, the Croatian Autonomous Union, HDZ – an access which he still retains as an MP in Croatia’s assembly – is one acumen why there has been no final adjudication yet.
When the retrial started in October in Zagreb, Glavas afresh pleaded not guilty. He is actualization in cloister afresh on Friday.
High-ranking politician, ‘ruler’ of Osijek
Glavas, now 61, is no best application above positions of power, but he has been a austere political force, decidedly in his birthplace, Osijek. He was one of the founders of the centre-right HDZ and an accessory of the party’s baton and Croatian Admiral Franjo Tudjman.
He additionally took ascendancy over the Osijek-based circadian bi-weekly Glas Slavonije, as Drago Hedl, a adept announcer from Osijek who was its editor-in-chief and has accounting abundantly about Glavas, recalls.
Biography: a loyal affair soldier
Born in Osijek in 1956, Glavas accelerating in law and was one of the founders of the centre-right Croatian Autonomous Union, HDZ on the eve of the aboriginal autonomous multi-party elections in Croatia in 1990, back it was still allotment of left-wing Yugoslavia. The HDZ disqualified Croatia during the 1990s, until the 2000 accepted elections.
Glavas was a baronial HDZ member, and an accessory from the alpha of the party’s baton and aboriginal democratically-elected Croatian Admiral Franjo Tudjman. Between 1993 and 2000, he was the prefect of Osijek-Baranja County, and afterwards an MP.
After Tudjman died in 1999, Glavas remained abutting to the new HDZ leader, Ivo Sanader who angry it into a pro-EU affair afterwards he won the 2003 accepted elections.
Ahead of the bounded elections in 2005, Glavas gets into action with Sanader. The HDZ administration ousted him from the affair the aforementioned year, andon Glavas founded the regionally-oriented Croatian Autonomous Alliance of Slavonia and Baranja, HDSSB.
With the HDSSB, Glavas manages to be adopted to assembly at three accepted elections, in 2007, 2015 and 2016.
Glas Slavonije was state-owned but accustomed advice in July 1991 that it would be privatised and that Glavas would be installed as admiral of the authoritative board. To annals his attendance in the newspaper, Glavas angry up in the newsroom accompanied by soldiers.
“He came in a compatible with armed men to authority the aboriginal affair of the new authoritative board. I knew that they would anon blaze me and the administrator of the newspaper, which is what they did at that actual aboriginal session,” Hedl said, who is additionally an casual contributor to BIRN.
In 1991, Glavas was the secretary of Osijek’s Secretariat for People’s Defence, which fabricated him the administrator of Osijek defence adjoin the Yugoslav People’s Army, JNA and Serbian paramilitaries who started the attacks on the burghal from backward August that year.
According to Hedl, Glavas anon exerted his anchor over Osijek, authoritative the badge and the abridgement as able-bodied as the media.
“He was the best able man in Osijek at the time. Because of his absolute clashes with bodies who disagree with him, he has created an angel of himself as the adjudicator of Osijek, which he basically was,” Hedl explained.
“I bethink how his name was alone aside in public. You won’t accept it, but bodies talking in a bar would alpha a book speaking commonly and afresh buzz back they would acknowledgment Glavas’s name; alike if the book [they were saying] was not about any abeyant abomination of Glavas’s,” he added.
In 1993 and 1994, some journalists started to apprehension that some of Osijek’s inhabitants, mostly Serbs, had absolutely gone missing instead of aloof beat Croatia.
Relatives of victims dead in the crimes codenamed ‘Sellotape’ and ‘Garage’ started to allege about the crimes, although the badge were still afraid to accord any advice to media or alpha investigations into the declared perpetrators.
Hedl aboriginal started to address about crimes attributed to Glavas during the war, back he was a contributor for Split-based circadian Slobodna Dalmacija, afterwards he was sacked from Glas Slavonije.
“Back then, afterwards one of my belief for [Croatian anti-establishment weekly] Feral Tribune, Glavas told me, through a alternate acquaintance, an MP at the time, Ivica Vrkic, that he would ‘turn me to ash and dust’,” Hedl recalled.
However, until Glavas was ousted from the HDZ in 2005 – he afresh formed a affair of his own, the regionally-oriented Croatian Autonomous Alliance of Slavonia and Baranja, HDSSB – there were no austere investigations into the crimes he allegedly committed in Osijek.
Investigations were opened in June 2006, and Glavas was aboriginal arrested in October 2006 over the ‘Garage’ case. While on remand, he went on a ache bang and afterwards 37 canicule he was appear from prison, and the analysis was stopped.
Meanwhile, the analysis into the ‘Sellotape’ case was opened, and an allegation abounding in April 2007, followed by an allegation for the ‘Garage’ case in May 2007. He was afresh captivated on remand, and went on two added ache strikes.
The balloon started in October 2007, and Glavas pleaded not guilty.
Alleged burden on case witnesses
Jelena Djokic Jovic from the Zagreb-based NGO Documenta – Centre for the Dealing with the Past followed Glavas’s balloon from the alpha at Zagreb canton court, and claims it was initially apparent by burden on case witnesses.
Another Zagreb-based NGO, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, filed a bent complaint adjoin Glavas in 2012, because the character of a adequate attestant had been appear on the branimirglavas.com website four years earlier.
Jean-Charles Gardetto, the rapporteur of the Board on Acknowledged Affairs and Human Rights of the Aldermanic Assembly of the Council of Europe, additionally appear in 2011 how Glavas appear the character of a adequate witness.
Another HDZ veteran, Vladimir Seks, who at the time of the crimes the arch of the bounded crisis address for Slavonia and Baranja, played important role in Glavas’s trial.
Many still brainstorm that Seks was Glavas’s above and that he charge accept had advice about the crimes attributed to Glavas’s units. At the trial, Glavas alike claimed that Seks was “God on Earth”.
But Seks claimed in cloister that he was alone “a noncombatant in a aggressive uniform”, and that Glavas’s aggressive role was abstract too.
Seks alike declared that “a fifth column” of Yugoslav intelligence agencies operated in Osijek at the time, bathrobe in Croatian aggressive uniforms and active Serb civilians.
But admitting Seks’s testimony, Zagreb canton cloister bedevilled Glavas to eight years in bastille in May 2009.
However, Glavas, who has both Croatian and Bosnian citizenship, beyond the bound into Bosnia and Herzegovina aloof afore the adjudication was announced. A accord was afresh fabricated that he would be approved in a Bosnian cloister afterwards the final adjudication in Croatia.
Croatia’s Supreme Cloister upheld the 2009 confidence in July 2010, afresh a Bosnian cloister accepted the verdict, and Glavas was confined in Mostar.
However, the Constitutional Cloister quashed Glavas’s final adjudication in January 2015. The capital acumen was the use of the amiss agreement of the Geneva Conventions.
The cloister argued that agreement for the aegis of victims of non-international conflicts should accept been acclimated for all crimes attributed to Glavas afore October 8, 1991 – the date until which Croatian courts accede Croatia a allotment of Yugoslavia – and afterwards that date, the agreement for the aegis of victims of all-embracing conflicts should accept been used.
At a retrial afore the Supreme Cloister in July 2016, the first-instance adjudication was quashed for the aforementioned reason.
Djokic Jovic explained that these protocols serve to assure victims, not perpetrators, so Glavas should not accept been acquitted on this basis. The court’s accommodation was “politically motivated”, she argued.
In February 2015, Glavas alternate to Osijek, area his HDSSB affair threw him a welcome-home affair in the burghal centre.
On that occasion, Glavas told his supporters that he had “recharged [my] batteries… for added challenges and struggles”.
Many affiliated this account with the victims affected to alcohol car array acerbic in the ‘Garage’ case. The Youth Initiative for Human Rights claimed it was an activation to violence.
Meanwhile, Glavas afresh entered assembly at the accepted elections in November 2015 with his HDSSB.
Then, at a retrial, the Supreme Cloister absitively in July 2016 that his case should alpha from the alpha afresh afore the canton cloister in Zagreb.
Although the Supreme Cloister afresh accustomed at its retrial that the affirmation acknowledged by the defence were acquired legally, it additionally acclaimed that the canton cloister could altercate the authority of all the affirmation from the beginning, so the defence can accession its objections again.
The action restarted afore Zagreb canton cloister in October, 12 years back Glavas was ousted from the HDZ.
Glavas renews his HDZ connections
Although he criticised the HDZ for years, Glavas has now active his relations with his old party. The accepted HDZ-led government relies a lot on his vote in assembly back important laws are actuality voted upon, or back the government tries to bulwark off no-confidence votes accomplished by the opposition.
“Despite actuality aloof a adumbration of the man he already was, Glavas is a man with an absurd aptitude for self-preservation, consistently cerebration bristles moves in beforehand back it comes to his well-being,” Hedl said.
“I anticipate Glavas’s case paints a account of Croatia’s judiciary,” Hedl said, suggesting that the numerous trials and retrials, as able-bodied as the breadth of the absolute process, advance that the attorneys has dealt with the case poorly.
From the beginning, the accompaniment attorney’s appointment and the courts had problems prosecuting Glavas, who in 2006 was an HDZ MP, because a aldermanic board was initially afraid to band him of his amnesty for both case and detention.
Because the board did not band Glavas of his amnesty from actuality captivated in adjourn prison, some feared it would be easier for him to access or alike alarm witnesses.
Court decisions afresh abiding the action for years, arch some experts to affirmation that this was a aftereffect of Glavas’s political access on the judiciary.
In March this year, the Supreme Cloister bedevilled Osijek administrator Drago Tadic to two years in bastille for aggravating to allurement cloister admiral to access the Glavas adjudication in 2010. Tadic, who is abutting to Glavas, was alive with others including a affiliate of Glavas’s HDSSB party, Ivan Drmic.
Hedl thinks that although the HDSSB alone has one MP in assembly – Glavas himself – his vote is important for the HDZ to abide in ability and advance its brittle authority on government. This agency could alike access the retrial of Glavas at Zagreb canton court, he suggests.
Hedl additionally credibility to the actuality that the alpha of the balloon was adjourned in July because a aldermanic board did not anon band him of his amnesty to angle trial.
Glavas may not be the political amateur he acclimated to be, but assemblage will be watching carefully to see how his latest cloister action develops, 26 years afterwards the victims died in Osijek.
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