Serbian War Crimes Prosecution asked that four defendants be sentenced to a total of 53 years of prison for the crimes against civilians committed in the Croatian town of Beli Manastir in 1991.
The prosecutor, Veselin Mrdak said that, in the course of the two-year long process, the prosecution has proven beyond any doubt that the defendants committed the crime specified in the indictment.
According to the indictment, Zoran Vuksic, Slobodan Strigic, Branko Hrnjak and Velimir Bertic, all members of the special unit within the military forces of the Serbian Autonomous Region of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem, were responsible for the killing of at least six civilians of non-Serb nationality in the municipality of Beli Manastir in eastern Croatia in 1991.
They are also charged with illegal detention, violation of bodily integrity, intimidation, terror, torture and inhuman treatment of civilians.
“All the defendants belonged to police forces of the Serb side in the conflict, and thus their responsibility for this crime was greater,” added Mrdak.
Mrdak asked that Zoran Vuksic be sentenced to 20 years of prison, since he is considered to be most responsible for the committed crimes; Slobodan Strigic to 14 to 15 years, Branko Hrnjak to 13 to 14 years, while for Velimir Bertic he asked three to four years.
Zoran Vuksic’s defence also presented its closing arguments on Tuesday, claiming that their client did not commit the murders he was charged with.
The prosecution charged Zoran Vuksic, alias “Yellow”, for the attack on Mr and Mrs Baric, a Croatian couple. The husband, Adam Baric, was shot dead, while the wife, Ana Baric, was wounded with a knife.
Many witnesses testified that Vuksic was a member of the so-called “Seseljevci”, the paramilitary group led by Vojislav Seselj, leader of the Serbian Radical Party, who is currently awaiting verdict before the Hague Tribunal for involvement in conflicts in former Yugoslavia.
The defence, however, says that although there are photographs of Vuksic together with Seselj, the defendant was never a member of the Serbian Radical Party, nor he supported in any way what the Seseljevci did during the conflict in former Yugoslavia.
The defence also pointed out the need for processing senior officials responsible for crimes committed in Eastern Croatia, emphasising that the “role of the Security Service was crucial and should not be left unresolved, because this way the defendants will serve as scapegoats.”
The defence will resume presenting its closing argument on Wednesday.