News 02 Jun 15

Serbia Repatriates Croatian War Criminal

A Belgrade court ruled that war criminal Veljko Maric, who was the subject of a high-level dispute between the Serbian and Croatian governments, could be sent back to his home country.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb
Veljko Maric. Photo: Facebook

Croatian Justice Minister Orsat Miljenic said that Maric was handed over to Croatian police on Tuesday after Belgrade’s appeals court ruled that he could serve the rest of his 12-year war crimes sentence in his home country.

“He is now in Croatia, handed over to the Croatian police,” Miljenic told local media.

Serbian police arrested war veteran Maric at the border between the two countries in April 2010 on the basis of a Serbian law on prosecution of war crimes which gives the country’s courts universal jurisdiction to try all crimes committed in the 1990s wars in the former Yugoslavia.

He was jailed for 12 years in March 2012 for committing war crimes against civilians in the village of Rastovac in Croatia in 1991.

Maric, who has insisted he is innocent, said in February that he wants to be transferred to Croatia to serve the rest of his sentence while he fights another case against him in his home country.

In the other case, he is accused of committing a war crime committed in the village of Grubisno Polje in 1991, when three Serb civilians were killed.

“As far as this second [court] procedure goes, I would like to be provided with a fair trial in Croatia, so if I am guilty, I will do the time in my own country,” he told Croatian newspaper Vecernji list.

Maric’s case was one of those highlighted by Croatian politicians who have criticised the Serbian law on prosecution of war crimes. It was raised again when Serbian foreign minister Ivica Dacic visited Zagreb in March.

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