Serbs Seek Compensation from Croatia

12 November 2008 Zagreb – A Croatian law firm will seek compensation from the state in the name of 30 families of Serb civilians who were tortured in the military prison Lora in Split in 1992.

The families will be represented by Anto Nobilo and Sanja Ormuz from ‘Nobile i drugi’, the Split based Slobodna Dalmacija newspaper reported.

Ormuz told the daily that she and Nobilo already received powers of attorney from ten families, including from Djordje Katic, a Serb from Split who was severely tortured by Croatian soldiers and members of the military police and who later emigrated to Australia.

They will also represent the Vesovic family, whose 18 years-old-son Bojan was arrested after being recruited into the then Yugoslav Army. The family claims that torturers in Lora “deliberately spread gangrene in Bojan’s wounded leg, which eventually killed him”.

Ormuz said the compensation claim for Djordje Katic will be 600.000 kunas, or €93.000, and up to €30.000 euros for the others.

The survivors of the Lora prison will have to go through a difficult process of establishing physical and psychological damage inflicted on them during the weeks or months they spent in the former military prison.

Nobilo and Ormuz will try to prove that all relevant authorities knew what was going on in Lora, but failed to prevent it.
Before the 1991-1995 war in Croatia, around 10 thousand ethnic Serbs lived in Split, most of them employed by the Yugoslav Army. Most of them were expelled from Split and their property taken over by Croatian army members. Dozens went through the Lora military prison.

Eight lower ranking military policemen have already been tried for torture and murder of Serb civilians in Lora, but were found not guilty by the Split court. The trial was ridden with irregularities, including the failure of the presiding judge Slavko Lozina to hear dozens of witnesses who were willing to testify despite threats to their lives.

The verdict was challenged at the Supreme Court, which overturned it.

The families chose to be represented by lawyers Anto Nobilo and Sanja Ormuz because they were “the only lawyers who didn’t ask to be paid in advance”, Slobodna Dalmacija reported.

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