Cold War Yugoslav murder trial collapses
19 May 2006, MUNICH - A 56-year-old Croat has been freed after the collapse of his trial for complicity in the murder of an opponent of the Yugoslav government 23 years ago, court officials said Friday.
19 May 2006
MUNICH - A 56-year-old Croat has been freed after the collapse of his trial for complicity in the murder of an opponent of the Yugoslav government 23 years ago, court officials said Friday.
Krunoslav P was alleged to have helped the former Yugoslav secret service SDB assassinate exiled writer and fellow-Croat Stjepan Durekovic in July 1983.
The High Court in Munich began hearing the case in March this year, but it slowly became clear that prosecutors needed to question witnesses in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and the Republic of Srpska.
In its ruling, the court said it had decided to close the case because it could take between 12 to 18 months to obtain the information prosecutors needed from the former Yugoslav states.
It would be unreasonable to keep the defendant in detention while these lengthy inquiries were in progress, the court said, ordering the man's release.
Prosecutors alleged that the accused had lured the victim to a printing works near Munich where he was shot six times and hit over the head with an axe by unidentified SDB agents.
Durekovic left Yugoslavia in 1982 for political reasons and settled in Germany where he wrote books and articles, condemning the regime of in Belgarde.
The works were printed in the plant owned by Krunoslav P, who had settled in Germany a decade earlier and later became an informer for the SDB.
One of the people he collected information on was Durekovic, who had become a thorn in the side of the SDB because of his vocal opposition to government in Belgrade.
The accused admitted passing on information about Croat exiles to an SDB contact man and giving him a key to the printing works, but denied any involvement in Durekovic's death.
Subject: German news