Branimir Glavas, a wartime general sentenced to seven years in jail for war crimes, said he escaped from Croatia to neighbouring Bosnia “just in case” after his first-instance verdict was handed down.
After the latest verdict in his marathon trial, Croatian wartime general Branimir Glavas, who was convicted again last month of war crimes against Serb civilians in Osijek in 1991, has fled to neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Glavas, who holds dual citizenship of Croatia and Bosnia, posted his location on Facebook on Tuesday afternoon, along with a message that said “just in case”.
“What goes on in a fool’s and a judge’s mind, you never know,” Glavas added.
He insisted that he “did not flee, but no longer wanted to live in Croatia”.
“I contributed to building this country, but I didn’t imagine it would be like this when I risked my life. They have no evidence,” he said, 24Sata reported.
The first-instance verdict, handed down by Zagreb County Court on October 27, was the latest development in Glavas’ long-running legal saga. The proceedings against the former general have been continuing since 2007, when his first trial started. He is accused in two cases, codenamed ‘Garage’ and ‘Sellotape’.
While listening to the verdict, Glavas became furious and interrupted the judge, asking if he had to listen to the rest of the ruling. The judge told him that he did not.
Glavas then stood up and said: “Shame on you, I’m going to screw you and your court”, and left the courtroom.
After the hearing, he called the trial a politically-motivated farce and a show for the public, the government and the international community.
The ‘Garage’ case focuses on a man who was forced to drink car battery acid in a garage in Osijek in August 1991. When he ran out of the garage in pain, he was shot by a member of the 1st Battalion of Osijek Defenders, which was commanded by Glavas.
The man died from the consequences of the poisoning. Glavas then allegedly ordered that a second prisoner should be executed.
In the ‘Sellotape’ case, Glavas’s unit arrested six civilians in November and December 1991 in Osijek and then tortured them in a basement in the city. They were then brought to the Drava riverbank, where the unit’s members executed them, with their hands tied behind their backs with sellotape.
Glavas was first found guilty in 2009 and sentenced to ten years in prison. But on the day his verdict was read out at Zagreb County Court, he fled to neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina.
After the Croatian Supreme Court confirmed the verdict but lowered the sentence to eight years, the Bosnian state court sent him to prison.
In 2016, the Croatian Supreme Court quashed Glavas’s first-degree verdict and he was released from jail. In 2018, his retrial was separated from the case against his subordinates.
The Supreme Court then annulled that decision, paving the way for the current retrial, which saw proceedings start from scratch yet again in 2021, with Glavas being tried alongside his subordinates Magdic, Kontic and Dragic.
Source : Balkaninsight