Croatian Wartime General Glavas Swears at Judge After Conviction

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In the latest incident in the marathon legal proceedings against Branimir Glavas, the former general shouted angrily at the judge after he was again convicted of ordering the wartime executions and arrests of Serb civilians in 1991.

Branimir Glavas was sentenced to seven years in prison on Friday after a retrial at Zagreb County Court for a committing a war crime against Serb civilians in Osijek 1991. His co-defendants were also given prison sentences.

Glavas became furious and interrupted the delivery of the verdict, asking the judge if he had to listen to the rest of the judgment. 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.

This was a first-instance verdict and Glavas vowed to challenge his conviction.

“We will move on, we will appeal,” he said.

In addition to Glavas, Gordana Getos Magdic, a former Croatian Army platoon commander, was sentenced to four years in prison, and two platoon members, Dino Kontic and Zdravko Dragic, were each sentenced to three years. They had all insisted they were innocent.

Friday’s verdict was the latest development in Glavas’ long-running legal saga. The proceedings against Glavas have been continuing since 2007, when his first trial started. He is accused in two cases, codenamed ‘Garage’ and ‘Sellotape’.

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