Peculiarities of the Republic of Croatia Justice in the Field of War Crimes (on the Materials of ‘Myklushevtsi Case’)

Keywords: Ruthenians, Myklushevtsi, Serbian Krajina, terror, ethnic cleansing, trial, genocide, war crimes against civilians

Abstract

The prosecution and punishment of war criminals in the Republic of Croatia after Serbia and Croatia war of the 1990s are studied in the paper.

The process of such persecution is described on the materials of the so-called ‘Myklushevtsi case’ (Mikluševaca). This choice is caused by two factors: firstly, the case had to be the most high-profile in the region; and, secondly, it concerned the representatives of Ruthenian-Ukrainian diaspora in Croatia. The main problems of the process are highlighted. In particular, most of the suspects were hiding in neighboring Serbia, so they were outside the Croatian judiciary. The evolution of this trial is shown through the prism of changes in the behavior of the Croatian judicial bodies (in particular, changes in the indictment, articles of the criminal code, etc.), and the measures taken by Croatian authorities to solve these issues.

The fates of the main participants of the trial, the national composition of both the accused at the beginning of the court hearings, and the actually convicted persons are analyzed. It has been established that the ‘Myklushevtsi case’ was unsuccessful for the contemporary Croatian judiciary, showing its imperfection. After all, the initial task of the prosecutor’s office was to accuse Serbs of genocide against the Ruthenian population. It has been found out that genocide was no longer mentioned in the final court decisions. Instead, the members of the same Ruthenian national minority were convicted of war crimes against the Ruthenian civilian population. Therefore, in general, the process disappointed the initial expectations placed on it by the Croatian authorities.

The significance of this process is shown for modern Ukraine as well, which also does not give up hopes to return certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk Regions to its administrative and legal field. And, if these plans are implemented, Ukraine will face similar challenges which Croatia had after the reintegration of Eastern Slavonia in the late 1990s.

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Published
01.10.2020
How to Cite
NahirnyiM. (2020). Peculiarities of the Republic of Croatia Justice in the Field of War Crimes (on the Materials of ‘Myklushevtsi Case’). Eminak: Scientific Quarterly Journal, (3(31), 243-251. https://doi.org/10.33782/eminak2020.3(31).455
Section
World History and International Relations