Croatian prosecution dropped charges against Borislav Mikelic, former Prime Minister of Krajina, the breakaway Serb region in Croatia in the early 1990s.
"After investigation, the prosecution concluded that there is no evidence that connects Mikelic with the deeds he was indicted for," according to a letter from the prosecutor's office from Sisak, which was read at the County Court in Zagreb on Thursday. Judge Zeljko Horvatovic closed the legal proceedings against Mikelic, who did not appear in the court.
Mikelic was sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison at the County Court in Sisak in 1993 for, "coordinating and preparing armed rebellion against the Croatian government" and for ordering attacks on the town of Petrinja and other locations in the area.
Mikelic's lawyer, Silvije Degen, requested a retrial of Mikelic in April, explaining that Mikelic would now be retried, again in absentia, under higher judicial standards than in the 1990s, "when people used to be sentenced without evidence.”
"The charges against Mikelic are nebulous and his defence in 1993 was shameful," Degen said. "His lawyer did not appeal the sentence, explaining that evidence of Mikelic's guilty was clear. That was a violation of basic judicial norms and ethics," he added.
Before the outbreak of war in Croatia, Mikelic was director of the Petrinja-based meat produce manufacturer Gavrilovic, one of the biggest companies in the former Yugoslavia. During the war, he became the Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Serb Republic of Krajina.
After the Croatian army reclaimed the territories in 1995, Mikelic moved to Belgrade, Serbia.
In 2003, he was arrested and spent three months in custody under suspicion of involvement in the assassination of Serbia's pro-Western Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.
In a recent interview, Mikelic announced the plan to establish a political party in Serbia, which would advocate the interests of Croatian Serbs who fled Croatia in 1995.