Numbers of prosecuted war crimes in Croatia are “worryingly low”, claims Croatian state prosecutor Mladen Bajic.
Only 109 out of a total of 490 war crimes in Croatia have been entirely prosecuted, Bajic states in his annual report for 2010, which he successfully defended in the Croatian parliament last week.
“These numbers indicate that it is important to continue searching for the perpetrators because not a single crime should stay undiscovered and unprosecuted,” he adds.
Bajic admits in the report that “due to the passing of time, it becomes harder every year” to investigate war crimes, but the Croatian State prosecutor's office, DORH, “made a series of important measures to complete war crimes investigations and to prosecute not only the perpetrators, but also their commanders”.
The State Prosecutor’s office created a war crimes database, consisting of “all the documents about the subject from Croatia and abroad, the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, and from the cooperation with the countries of former Yugoslavia”.
According to the database, at least 5,998 people were killed in war crimes in Croatia and 2,266 were injured, 2,354 suffered “torture, abuse and inhuman treatment”, and 67 people were raped.
Bajic said that the state prosecution has been investigating war rape cases in cooperation with the police. DORH expects cooperation with NGO's, the ICTY prosecutor's office and the Serbian war crime prosecutor’s office in investigating those crimes, he added.
In his report, Bajic states that “ the war crimes database exceeds the needs of the State Prosecutor’s office”, assuming it could be useful for historical and other kinds of investigations.
Bajic mentioned in his report that his office is also investigating war crimes perpetrated “at the end, and immediately after the Second world war”. Criminal charges have not been filed yet, despite public interest in Croatia for those crimes, Bajic said.
He explained that investigation and exhumations are going on, but “DORH hasn't been able to start criminal proceedings” because of a lack of evidence.
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