News 21 Nov 17

Yugoslav Troops Accused of Killing Croatian Villagers

Serbia’s Humanitarian Law Centre filed a criminal complaint against Yugoslav People’s Army troops and Serb Territorial Defence fighters for allegedly killing 48 Croatian civilians in the villages of Skabrnja and Nadin in 1991.

Filip Rudic
BIRN
Belgrade
Monument to the victims in Skabrnja. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Croq.

Serbia’s Humanitarian Law Centre NGO on Tuesday filed a criminal complaint against six identified and several unknown members of the Yugoslav People’s Army and the Territorial Defence force, accusing them of killing 48 Croatian civilians in the villages of Skabrnja and Nadin in 1991.

According to the charges, Yugoslav People’s Army and the Territorial Defence fighters entered the southern Croatian village of Skabrnja in the Serb Autonomous Region of Krajina, a self-proclaimed wartime statelet, on November 18, 1991.

The complaint, submitted to the Serbian war crimes prosecutor’s office, alleges that the troops demolished the Catholic Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and then proceeded to kill 41 civillians. Seven more were killed the next day, in the nearby village of Nadin.

The war crimes prosecutor’s office will now decide whether or not to press charges based on the complaint.

“The killings in both locations followed the same pattern – civilians found in homes were dragged out with curses and insults, while members of the Yugoslav People’s Army and the Territorial Defence killed them at close range,” the HLC said in a statement.

“Most of the victims were elderly, and 16 of them were women, one of whom was immobile,” it added.

The HLC said that Milan Martic and Milan Babic, former interior minister and president of the Serb Autonomous Region of Krajina, have been convicted by the Hague Tribunal for the attacks on Skabrnja and Nadin.

However, no member of the Yugoslav People’s Army or the Territorial Defence has ever been charged with the crimes in Serbia.

Former Serbian State Security chief Jovica Stanisic and his former deputy Franko Simatovic are also being retried before the Mechanism of International Criminal Tribunals for various alleged crimes including the attack on Skabrnja.

Their defence claims that the Yugoslav People’s Army, led by then colonel Ratko Mladic, was responsible for the crimes committed during the attack.

The defence lawyer quoted what Mladic, who at the time was the commander of the Knin Corps of the Yugoslav People’s Army, wrote in his notebook on November 17, 1991, one day before the attack on the Skabrnja.

One of the tasks mentioned by Mladic in his notebook was: “To move the armed battalion towards Skabrnja and Nadin, in order to wipe them out.”

“Clean up the Nadin-Skabrnja area well,” Mladic’s directive to his forces said.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Headlines

News 06 Dec 17

Bosnia Charges Serb Mayor with Wartime Persecution

news 04 Dec 17

Bosnia Arrests 13 Suspected of Crimes in Konjic

News 21 Nov 17

Yugoslav Troops Accused of Killing Croatian Villagers