Serbia has extradited Ivica Husnik, convicted of being involved in the killings of 200 people at Ovcara Farm near Vukovar in November 1991, to Croatia to serve his sentence for a different crime.
Osijek County Court spokesperson Miroslav Rozac said that Husnik was convicted in Croatia in 1997, and sentenced to eight years in prison due to “crimes committed in the Vukovar area during the Homeland War.” Further details of the crimes were not provided at the time.
Husnik is currently being held at Remetinec prison in Zagreb. He is awaiting “the procedure for determining where a legally convicted person will serve his prison sentence is carried out,” explained Rozac.
Husnik has been in Serbian custody since 2003. In November 2017, the Belgrade Higher Court sentenced him to 15 years in prison for his role in the massacre of Croatian prisoners in 1991.
According to the 2017 verdict, Husnik was a member of the Leva Supoderica paramilitary unit. The unit, together with the Vukovar Territorial Defence force, purportedly participated in the killing of some 200 prisoners at Ovcara Farm after they were captured at Vukovar Hospital.
The killings took place in the wake of the Croatian town’s takeover by the Yugoslav People’s Army and Serb paramilitaries following a deadly three-month siege.
The Belgrade court ruled that Husnik, along with other fighters, “formed firing squads and opened fire with firearms” at the victims. The victims were shot in front of a pre-dug hole, in which their bodies were then buried.
Born in Vukovar, Husnik was initially a member of the Borovo Selo village Territorial Defence before signing up to the Leva Supoderica unit in November 1991. He changed his name to Ivan Atanasijevic in 1992, but reverted to his original name after the war.
Serbia and Croatia signed an extradition treaty in 2010 after years of bilateral and international negotiations, as part of regional efforts to tackle organized crime. The treaty has also been used to transfer individuals convicted of taking part in war crimes carried out during the Yugoslav conflicts of the 1990s.
Croatian and Serbian prosecutions have an agreement to cooperate in war crimes cases as far as exchanges of evidence. Extradition of suspects is not permitted, nor is the transfer of war crimes cases from one country to the other.
Image via Wikiwand