On guilty verdict in Bihać crime case
The Higher Court in Belgrade on 4 February 2014 passed a judgment convicting Đuro Tadić of the war crime against civilians committed on 23 September 1992 in the village of Duljci (municipality of Bihać, BiH), and sentenced him to 10 years in prison. The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) points out that the judgment is based on convincing evidence presented at the trial, and that the accountability of Đuro Tadić was proved beyond reasonable doubt, but that the sentence imposed on him is an insult to the victims.
The court determined that the accused, Đuro Tadić, in his capacity as a member of the Rajinovac unit of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS), together with Zoran Tadić, Jovica Tadić, Zoran Berg, Željko Babić, Svetko Tadić and the late Slobodan and Gojko Đurić, all of them in military or police uniforms and armed with machine guns, their faces masked with socks and caps, arrived in two passenger vehicles at the village of Duljci, where a group of Bosniak civilians were picking plums, as part of the work duties imposed by the so-called War Presidency of the Serbian Municipality of Bihać. The men fired several bursts of automatic fire at the civilians. Then, having seen that some of the civilians had taken shelter in a cowshed, they threw a hand grenade at it, killing 18 people and severely wounding one woman. After that, they tossed the bodies into a pile and set fire to them.
In pronouncing judgment, the presiding judge, Mirjana Ilić, said that in determining the sentence, the court had assessed the defendant’s personal and family circumstances, his old age (65) and lack of previous convictions as mitigating factors, and the severity of the consequences, that is, the number of victims, as an aggravating circumstance.
The HLC would like to emphasize that the court found Tadić guilty of the cold-blooded murder of 18 civilians, mostly women and elderly people. Among the victims were 10 women, the oldest of whom was 78 and the youngest a 13-year-old girl. The young women who is the sole survivor of this incident, was left with lifelong disabilities as the result of the injuries sustained. Tadić and the other perpetrators demonstrated brutality even after the murder, by dousing the bodies with gasoline and setting them ablaze. In the view of the HLC, by attaching importance to the age of the perpetrator of such a cruel crime, the sufferings of the victims of this crime were slighted in a repugnant way.
Pursuant to the Law on International Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Civil and Criminal Matters between the Republic of Serbia and BiH, the Cantonal Court of Bihać referred this case to the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor (TRZ), after Zoran Tadić, Jovica Tadić, Zoran Berga and Željko Babić had been finally convicted for the same criminal offence following a plea agreement. The TRZ brought the indictment against Đuro Tadić on 8 April 2013. Svetko Tadić is still at large. The trial of this case, over the course of which 26 witnesses were heard, commenced on 26 June 2013.