Activists demand action on case of war crimes witness who was killed in 2000 and whose murder has never been solved.
|Amnesty International Croatia activists in front of the prosecutor's building in Zagreb, Croatia, urging to reexamine murder of Milan Levar, Croatian war crimes witness.|
The rights group Amnesty International has urged Croatia to reexamine the case of Milan Levar, the Croatian war crimes witness whose murder in August 2000 has not been investigated or punished.
Several Amnesty activists gathered in front of the main prosecutor's office on Monday wearing masks of Levar’s face, demanding reexamination of a case that has remained stuck in the initial stages of investigation for more than a decade.
The activists were received in the prosecutor's office, where they delivered a petition bearing about a thousand signatures seeking resolution of the case.
Levar was a Croatian army officer serving in Gospic, a town in central Croatia, which saw heavy fighting during Croatia’s war for independence against Serb forces and the Yugoslav army. The town was effectively under siege.
After the war ended in 1995, Levar said he had seen Croatian forces carrying out grave war crimes against Croatian Serbs in Gospic. He testified concerning his claims to investigators of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, ICTY, saying he was willing to testify in court.
In August 2000, he was killed when an explosive device detonated in his mechanical workshop at his home in Gospic. An investigation was launched, but without result.
|Amnesty International Croatia activists|
In recent years leaked reports from the police claim that investigators know who killed Levar, but did not have enough evidence to file an indictment.
Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic, appointed by the newly elected Prime Minister, Zoran Milanovic, has announced the formation of a special police department for unresolved cases, among which Levar’s murder is one of the most important.
The case has become in many people’s eyes a symbol of the failure to confront the issue of war crimes in Croatia - and of the state’s inability to protect witnesses.
Following his election two years ago, President Ivo Josipovic pledged not to allow the Levar case to remain unresolved.
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