Crime in the village of Poljanak
Upon request by the Gospić County State's Attorney's Office (hereinafter: the ŽDO), criminal proceedings were re-opened against Boško Žujić, Boško Grbić, Vinko Grbić, Mićo Grbić, Vladimir Grbić, Slavko Grbić and Dane Rodić, who were in 1994 validly sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison for a war crime against civilians.
After the decision that allowed the re-opening of the proceedings was passed, the Gospić ŽDO modified the indictment, charging the afore-mentioned persons with the criminal act of armed rebellion.
The Court annulled the previous verdict and, having applied the General Amnesty Act, terminated the criminal proceedings against the aforementioned defendants.
COURSE OF THE PROCEEDINGS
The indictment issued by the Gospić District State's Attorney's Office charged the defendant Boško Žujić et al. (a total of eight of them) with a war crime against civilians referred to in Article 142 of the Basic Criminal Law of the RoC (hereinafter: the OKZ RH), committed by killing the civilians of Croat ethnicity in the village of Poljanak, which is located in Korenica area.
The verdict of the Gospić County Court No. K-15/92 of 4 July 1994 found eight defendants (Boško Žujić, Boško Grbić, Vinko Grbić, Mićo Grbić, Vladimir Grbić, Slavko Grbić, Dane Rodić and Momčilo Grbić) guilty in absentia that on 7 November 1991, having entered the village of Poljanak (Titova Korenica Municipality) which was inhabited exclusively by the population of Croat ethnicity, took the inhabitants who happened to be in the village on that day out of their houses, gathered them in the yard of a house and fired at them, whereby they killed: Josip Matovina, Nikola Matovina, Dana Vuković, Nikola Vuković, Milka Vuković, Lucija Vuković, Nikola Vuković and Vjekoslav Vuković and soon afterwards they killed Ivan and Nikola Vuković, after which they took all valuable items and money from their houses and set the houses on fire.
Due to the commission of a war crime against civilians, each of the defendants was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The statement of reasons of the verdict contained witness testimonies. However, not a single witness stated that he had recognised the defendants among the perpetrators of the crime in Poljanak. Witnesses stated that the perpetrators were masked and that it was impossible to recognise them.
You can see the verdict of the Gospić County Court here. (in Croatian)
The verdict of the Gospić County Court was upheld by the verdict of the Supreme Court of the RoC No.: I-Kž-121/1995 of 1 October 1997.
The Gospić County State's Attorney's Office filed a request for re-opening of the proceedings No. KT-28/92 of 11 February 2009.
It stated that the ruling of the Gospić County Court of 7 June 2004 permitted the re-opening of the proceedings in relation to Momčilo Grbić who filed a request for re-opening after he had returned to the RoC, and that in the re-opened proceedings held on 1 October 2004 the indictment with regard to him was rejected.
The request of the Gospić ŽDO also stated that employees of the Korenica Police Station performed talks with the persons who resided in the area of Poljanak in the autumn of 1991 and that these persons did not have information that any of the convicts had been killing civilians, looted and set civilians' property on fire. They were aware that Vladimir Grbić and Vinko Grbić had been tasked with burying the bodies, while they heard rumours that the perpetrators of the crime had been members of paramilitary formations from Korenica led by Major Cvjetičanin, as well as volunteers and mercenaries from Serbia.
The request proposed that the Council President should establish the facts by questioning the inhabitants of Poljanak.
You can read the request for re-opening of the proceedings here. (in Croatian)
The ruling of the Gospić County Court No. Kv-18/09 of 21 April 2009 permitted the re-opening of the criminal proceedings.
Namely, after the questioning carried out by the Council President, it was concluded that conditions had been created for the re-opening of the criminal proceedings.
You can see the abovementioned ruling on re-opening here. (in Croatian)
In a letter dated 9 November 2009, the Gospić ŽDO modified the factual description and legal qualification of the criminal act from the indictment.
The defendants are now charged with the commission of a criminal act of armed rebellion.
You can see the modified indictment here. (in Croatian)
Since the criminal act of armed rebellion is covered by amnesty, the criminal proceedings were terminated.
You can see the ruling of the Gospić County Court which annulled the sentencing verdict and which terminated the proceedings here. (in Croatian)