Croatian general Mladen Markac, acquitted by The Hague last year, wouldn't testify at a Zagreb war crimes investigation, saying he was waiting for the Hague verdict to become irreversible.
Markac refused to give evidence on Wednesday during an investigation into his wartime deputy Zeljko Sacic, who is accused of covering up the killings of five elderly Serbs in the village of Grubori near the Croatian town of Knin on August 25 and 26, 1995.
Croatian media reported the general as expllaining that he didn’t want to endanger himself in case his Hague verdict is revised.
The appeals chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY, acquitted Markac and another Croatian general Ante Gotovina last November of all charges of war crimes committed during the Croatian military operation codenamed Storm in 1995.
They had originally been sentenced to 18 and 24 years in prison respectively for taking part in a joint criminal enterprise to expel Serb civilians from Croatia during operation Storm, alongside former Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and several other top officials.
According to ICTY rules, the appeal judgment could be revised within a year if new evidence is found, and Markac has the legal right to refuse to testify in similar cases in Croatia until then.
The Grubori incident was one of those listed in the ICTY’s indictment against Markac and Gotovina.
After a year passes since the ICTY appeal judgment, the Zagreb prosecutor has the right to invite Markac to testify again.
Two former members of Croatian police special forces, Frano Drlje and Bozidar Krajina, are currently being tried at Zagreb county court over the Grubori killings.
The investigation against Sacic formerly was a part of Drlje-Krajina case, but was separated from the others in 2010, partly because prosecutors insisted on Markac’s testimony about Sacic’s role in Grubori.