In the final part of his evidence, Zeljko Sacic heaped praise on his former superior, General Mladen Markac, noting that Markac’s humanity had always impressed him. The trial continues in mid-April with the evidence of the next Trial Chamber’s witness

Zeljko Sacic, witness at the Ante Gotovina, Ivan Cermak and Mladen Markac trialZeljko Sacic, witness at the Ante Gotovina, Ivan Cermak and Mladen Markac trial

‘His humanity has always impressed me’, said former chief of the Croatian Special Police Staff Zeljko Sacic speaking of his former superior, Mladen Markac. As he explained, ‘otherwise, we would not have been able to work together, because I myself am a humane person’. The witness then continued heaping praise on the witness when defense counsel Goran Mikulicic asked him to describe Markac’s qualities as a commander.

Sacic is former chief of the Special Police Staff; he also served as the deputy commander of the special police; Markac was the commander. Markac is on trial with generals Gotovina and Cermak for crimes against Serb civilians and their property in the summer of 1995. Sacic was called to The Hague by the Trial Chamber. In the six days of his testimony, which proceeded for the most part in closed session, Sacic talked about the activities of the Croatian special police. According to the judges, the issue has not been cleared up in the course of the prosecution and the defense cases.

The witness praised Markac because he respected and enforced laws. Sacic ‘never heard or saw’ the accused break the law. The defense counsel then asked the witness if he ever reported to Markac any unlawful acts by the special police. On one occasion, Sacic actually reported that he himself had committed a traffic offence and Markac ‘punished him as the rules required’ because he was ‘strict and consistent’.

Zeljko Sacic is facing criminal prosecution in Croatia. He is suspected of covering up the crime in the Krajina village of Grubori in the Plavno Valley, where five Serb civilians were killed in late August 1995. The crime is listed in the indictment against generals Gotovina, Cermak and Markac. According to the evidence called by the prosecution, the Lucko unit of the Croatian special police was responsible for the crime. The defense tried to prove that Serb civilians were killed in cross-fire when the special police fought the remaining Serb soldiers.

After Sacic completed his evidence, the presiding judge noted the trial would continue in mid-April 2010 with the evidence of the remaining witnesses of the Trial Chamber. The prosecution and the defense are expected to submit their final briefs by 31 May 2010 and the Trial Chamber will then schedule the closing arguments.