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Croatia arrests 3 war crimes suspects from Serbo-Croatian War

Three former Croatian police officers were arrested Monday in connection to alleged war crimes committed against ethnic Serb civilians during the Serbo-Croatian War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] in 1991 and 1992. Most notable among the three is Djuro Brodarac, a former police chief in the town of Sisak southeast of the capital Zagreb, who was arrested [Adnkronos International report] along with two other police officials, Vladimir Milankovic and Drago Bosnjak. The Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR) [advocacy website], a rights organization in the former Yugoslav states, said that as many as 600 Serb civilians in Sisak were killed [press release, in Croatian] during the war. YIHR urged the Croatia to further investigate possible war crimes and prosecute all those responsible.

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Croatia has been cracking down on suspected war criminals from the Serbo-Croation war. These latest arrests come less than a month after the European Commission (EC) [official website] officially recommended [JURIST report] Croatia [EC materials] for accession to the European Union (EU) [official website], announcing that Croatia will become the 28th member of the EU on July 1, 2013. The day before the announcement, Croatian authorities charged former military commander and senior interior minister Tomislav Mercep [official profile, in Croatian] for war crimes committed against Serbians during the 1990s conflict in the Balkans. The indictment goes on to charge that he ordered detentions, torture and executions of Serbian civilians. Mercep was arrested [JURIST report] in December, and Croatian officials were nearing a deadline to release him without a formal indictment.

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