Maximum sentence for Crime at Ovčara

BEOGRAD, 23 June 2009 – The War Crimes Chamber of the Belgrade District Court, presided by Judge Vesko Krstajić, found Damir Sireta guilty of the criminal act of a war crime against prisoners of war from Article 144 of the Criminal Code of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (KZ SRJ), in relation to Article 22 of the KZ SRJ, and sentenced him to 20 years’ imprisonment.

The trial of Damir Sireta began on December 23rd 2008. There were six days of trial in which seven witnesses gave testimony, including one insider-witness, and the statement of a witness which was read in court.

The court established, on the basis of the evidence presented, that the defendant, Damir Sireta, a member of the of the Vukovar Territorial Defence (TO), together with other members of that unit, killed prisoners of war captured at the Vukovar hospital from the afternoon of the November 20th 1991 until the early morning hours of November 21st 1991 at Ovčara farm near Vukovar.These prisoners of war were members of the Croatian armed forces, police, volunteer units and auxiliaries.

Approximately one kilometre from Ovčara farm in the direction of Grabovo, Sireta shot and took the lives of 200 persons, who had been brought to that place by tractor and lined up. 193 of the victims have been identified.