News 09 May 17

Croatia Compensates Serb Family for Killing by Soldier

A Croatian court ordered 106,000 euros in compensation to be paid to the family of Janko Cakic, a Serb civilian killed after Croatia’s military operation ‘Storm’ in August 1995.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb
A Croatian tank during Operation Storm, shown in the documentary ‘15 Minutes - Massacre in Dvor’.

The county court in Bjelovar, a town in central Croatia, ruled that the state must compensate the family of Janko Cakic, a Serb killed on August 20, 1995, Croatian news site Index reported on Tuesday.

The court on Monday upheld the verdict handed down by a lower municipal court in the coastal town of Sibenik and ruled that the family should be paid 106,000 euros in compensation, plus interest.

Cakic was killed by a member of the Croatian 15th home guard regiment ‘Petar Kresimir IV’ in the village of Zecevo, in the Sibenik region, in the aftermath of Croatia’s victorious military operation ‘Storm’.

His body and house were burned afterwards. His remains were found, exhumed, identified and buried in 2015.

Index reported that the court’s decision came as a result of the conviction of the perpetrator, who was sentenced to six years in prison in 1996.

The unnamed perpetrator was convicted of a murder - not a war crime - and served three years before being pardoned by then Croatian President Franjo Tudjman.

The Bjelovar court ruled that Cakic was killed by a member of state forces serving in wartime, therefore the state was responsible and must pay compensation.

The state attorney’s office had sought to claim that the statute of limitations had passed in the case.

The compensation will be paid to Cakic’s widow and daughters.

During the Operation Storm, Croatian forces took back a large part of the country’s territory that had been under the control of rebel Croatian Serbs since 1991.

But according to the Croatian Helsinki Committee, the operation resulted in the killing of over 600 mostly elderly civilians and the expulsion of more than 200,000 Serbs.

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