Retired Air Force Pilot Talks Serbia's Indictment

By 22 August 2022
Retired Air Force Pilot Talks Serbia's Indictment
Photo: Robert Anic/PIXSELL

ZAGREB, 22 August, 2022 - Retired Air Force pilot Danijel Borović said on Sunday that after Serbia's media outlets reported that an indictment against four wartime Croatian pilots had been upheld by a Belgrade-based court, one should now wait for Croatia to take the next move.

Borović told the N1 commercial broadcaster that he had learnt from the media about the indictment which allegedly charged him and three more pilots with war crimes in during the liberating Operation Storm.

"I have no other information. I can see that Justice Minister (Ivan) Malenica has also stated that they have not been given any first-hand information, and that no official contact has been made," Borović told N1.

He said that he is now waiting for Croatia's authorities to take necessary steps concerning this situation after Prime Minister Andrej Plenkoić recently stated that Croatia will know how to protect its wartime pilots.

The four pilots of Croatia's Armed Forces whom Serbia accuses of issuing the order for shelling a refugee column on 7 and 8 August 1995 are Vladimir Mikec (67), Zdenko Radulj (69), Željko Jelenić (69) and Borović (64).

The Croatian Justice Ministry said on Saturday it had not been officially informed by Serbian authorities about the filing or upholding of an indictment against Croatian Air Force pilots allegedly accused by Serbia of war crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Serbia has not requested international legal aid in this case, and Croatian authorities know about it only based on speculation and reports in Serbian media, the ministry said.

Serbia is again trying to take over the role of the former International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) by claiming jurisdiction on territories of sovereign, internationally recognised states without any restrictions, which are part of international law, the Croatian justice ministry said, adding that such a stance is contrary to the rule of law, international law and international criminal law.

It recalled that final ICTY verdicts established that Croatia's 1995 Operation Storm was not a joint criminal enterprise but a legitimate military operation aimed at returning occupied territory under the state's sovereignty.

Serbia has issued the indictment against Croatia's wartime pilots in a bid to divert the attention from its own problems, Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Sunday.

Jandroković added that Croatia dismissed this indictment which had a political nature and was without any legal foundation, and that Croatia protects its citizens.