At the trial of Tomislav Mercep, one time top advisor of the Croatian wartime Interior Minister, a former policeman testified that Mercep "coordinated" the "Mercepovci" unit.
Ivan Kvaternik, former police officer in the Interior Ministry, claimed during Wednesday's session at the County Court in Zagreb that Mercep did not command the special police unit, but only “coordinated” its operations in Pakracka Poljana.
Kvaternik said Mercep sent reports about the unit's operations to then Croatian Interior minister Ivan Vekic.
Dusko Cikan, who led the unit of volunteers from the Croatian city of Rijeka during the fighting in the Pakrac area, said that Mercep participated in the battles as an “ordinary fighter”, not as a commander.
Kvaternik and Cikan claimed they did not know of any prison in Pakracka Poljana.
Mercep has been charged, as a commander of a police unit, to have personally ordered the unlawful arrest, torture and killing of civilians from October to mid-December 1991, in and around Zagreb and in the towns of Kutina and Pakrac in central Croatia.
According to the indictment, his police unit, the “Mercepovci” illegally captured 52 people, mainly Croatian Serbs, killing 43 of them, while three disappeared and six survived torture.
The trial continues on Thursday, when the former chief of Croatian secret services, Josip Perkovic, is expected to testify.
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