News 16 Jan 17

Croatian Serb Policeman Charged over Village Raid

Former police chief Milenko Zelenbaba, a Serbian citizen, was charged with committing war crimes against Croat villagers near the southern town of Knin in 1992.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb
Knin. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Roberta F.

The state attorney’s office in the Croatian coastal town of Split said on Saturday that it has indicted a Serbian citizen, Milenko Zelenbaba, for committing war crimes against Croat civilians during a police raid on the village of Kninsko Polje near Knin.

Fifty-nine-year-old Zelenbaba was the chief of police in the Knin area at the start of the war in Croatia in 1991.

As a Croatian Serb, he remained the chief of police in Knin when the area came under the control of the self-proclaimed Serb rebel statelet, the Republic of Serbian Krajina.

Zelenbaba is accused of organising a police raid on the village of Kninsko Polje in January 1992, with a plan to terrorise, intimidate and expel the last of the Croats in the village.

According to the indictment, Serb policemen started shooting at Croats’ houses, although there was no resistance from the villagers. Some of the houses were looted, while some villagers were taken prisoner.

One Croat civilian, Josko Cacic, was killed, and afterwards, Serb policemen left a hunting rifle next to his body in order to suggest that he was armed and shooting at the police.

After the incident, almost all the Croat civilians in the area left for territory controlled by the Croatian authorities.

Zelenbaba currently lives in Serbia.

In 1993, the county court in the Croatian coastal town of Sibenik sentenced him – in his absence – to 20 years in prison for war crimes.

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