Tomislav Mercep, a former Croatian assistant interior minister, is to stand trial for war crimes on February 10 at Zagreb County Court, the court announced.
The indictment charges Mercep with responsibility for the killing of 43 civilians and the disappearance of three more in autumn and winter 1991.
Among the victims are Mihajlo Zec, his wife Marija and their 12-year-old daughter Aleksandra, who were murdered on the night of December 7, 1991 in a forest near Zagreb.
The murder of the Zec family, who were Serb civilians living in the Croatian capital, is considered by many to be one of the cruelest war crimes committed by Croatian forces.
The family was murdered in cold blood far from the frontline. Aleksandra Zec was shot in the head. The killers were captured and confessed to the crime but they were released due to a procedural mistake and never stood trial.
Some of them advanced in their military careers and were honoured by presidential medal. One became a member of the military's presidential guard.
Mercep has been charged with personally ordering the unlawful capture, torture and killing of civilians from October 8, 1991 until mid- December of the same year in and around Zagreb and Kutina and Pakrac in central Croatia.
According to the indictment, his police unit illegally captured 52 people, killing 43 of them, while three dissapeared and six survived torture.
After 1991, Mercep was appointed an advisor in the Croatian interior ministry.
Despite independent media reports about war crimes committed by his police unit, he remained at large and was a prominent political figure until recently. He led a political party and influential war veterans' organisation and even ran for Croatian president in 2000.
He has been in custody since he was arrested on war crimes charges in December 2010.
Due to ill health, he has been in a prison hospital but an expert has examined him and declared he is fit to stand trial. He will be under medical supervision in court and will have the right to rest after every hour and a half of the trial.
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