News 05 Feb 18

Bosnian Croat Ex-Policeman Cleared of Leading Village Attack

Former Croatian Defence Council military policeman Zdenko Andabak was acquitted on appeal of committing war crimes during an attack on the village of Grborezi in the Livno municipality in 1993.

Dzana Brkanic
BIRN
Sarajevo
Zdenko Andabak outside court in 2017. Photo: BIRN.

The appeals chamber of the Bosnian state court on Monday upheld the first-instance verdict clearing Zdenko Andabak of war crimes against the civilian population in the village of Grborezi, near Livno, in July 1993.

The chamber rejected an appeal by the Bosnian state prosecution, saying it was unfounded, and confirmed the original acquittal verdict that was handed down in March 2017.

Andabak was cleared of having led the operation in Grborezi on July 21, 1993, when members of the Second Light Assault Battalion of the Croatian Defence Council’s military police killed one person and wounded another.

He was also cleared of killing a person who members of the battalion had previously wounded, and of physically mistreating another person.

The indictment said that he was the assistant chief of the Military Police Administration for the North-Western Herzegovina Operational Zone of the Croatian Defence Council and commander of the Second Light Assault Battalion of the Croatian Defence Council military police.

The court found that the prosecution had not proved his guilt beyond reasonable doubt, ruling that two protected witnesses’ testimonies were speculative, confusing and contradictory.

The second-instance verdict cannot be appealed.

In a separate case in which Andabak is on trial, along with Muamir Jasarevic and Sead Velagic, for alleged crimes against Serbs in Livno in 1992, the defence and prosecution presented their appeals in December last year.

Under the first-instance verdict in the case, Andabak was acquitted of the charges, while Velagic and Jasarevic were sentenced to a total of two-and-a-half years in prison.

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