The non-governmental organization Documents from Zagreb has launched a protest because the President of Croatia Zoran Milanović promoted a general who is being tried for war crimes against Serbs.

Documents expressed protest on their webpage after Milanović awarded the honorary rank of Brigadier General to Đuro Matuzović, one of the commanders of the Croatian Defense Council (HVO), who is being charged for war crimes by the Office of the Prosecutor of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On December 30, 2016, the Office of the Prosecutor of Bosnia and Herzegovina pressed charges against Matuzović, Ivo Oršolić, Tado Oršolić, Marko Dominković, Joso Nedić, Marko Blažanović, Mate Živković, Ante Živković and Stjepo Đurić.

Documents reported that the defendants, as members of the Croatian Defense Council structures in Orašje, the Military Police and police structures, and as guards in the camps and detention centers at the High School Center in Orašje and the “Donja Mahala” Elementary School, are being accused of committing war crimes against a large number of victims of the Serbian nationality from the area of Orašje and the region between late April 1992 and July 1993 during the international armed conflict that was ongoing in the wider area of the Orašje Municipality.

They are also being charged with crimes against humanity, that is, participation in the exodus of the population of Serbian nationality motivated by national, ethnic, cultural and religious reasons.

“With the decision to award the honorary rank, the President of the Republic of Croatia is dismissing the work of the Office of the Prosecutor of the neighboring country and upsets the surviving victims of the breaches of international humanitarian law,” said the Documents.

The trial in the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, they reminded, began in August 2017, but it was put on hold amid the pandemic. More than a hundred witnesses have given testimony during the trial, reported the Glas Srpske.

“Due to the same place and time that the criminal acts of war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed, the criminal process against Mirko Jurić was consolidated with another process that was being led against the aforementioned nine men, and they are being tried at the same time. The indictment against Jurić, member of the Military Police of the Croatian Defense Council’s 106th Brigade, in which he is being charged with one count of murder, several counts of torture and abuse and two counts of rape, was filed on March 13, 2017. It must be emphasized that the crimes against civilians held in the building of the former “Donja Mahala” Elementary School were the subject of another criminal proceeding which legally established the facts of inhumane treatment of civilians. Mate Baotić, Commander of the 2nd Department of the Military Police of the Croatian Defense Council’s 106th Brigade, was convicted of those crimes,” reported the Documents.