Škabrnja massacre

Škabrnja massacre

Škabrnja massacre ( _hr. Masakr u Škabrnji) was a war crime [ [http://www.un.org/icty/pressreal/2007/pr1162e.htm Summary of judgement: the case of Milan Martić] ] , atrocities committed by Serb forces during the Croatian War of Independence. On November 18, 1991, Serb paramilitaries, supported by the JNA, captured the village of Škabrnja (also: "Škabrnje") and killed 25 Prisoners of war and 61 civilians over the next several days. [ [http://arhiv.slobodnadalmacija.hr/20031119/novosti02.asp hr icon Slobodna Dalmacija news article on commemoration] ]

Before the massacre

According to the census of 1991, Škabrnja (near Zadar) was inhabited by 1,953 people in 397 households, the vast majority were Croats, no Serbs were recorded to live in the settlement. When the Croatian Serbs rebelled during the Croatian War of Independence, aiming to form Republic of Serbian Krajina, Škabrnja found itself surrounded by Serb-inhabited villages.

As Croatian Army forces had been formed by villagers since October, the larger and more numerous Yugoslav People's Army and paramilitary forces approached them. On November 18, the Serbian forces fired mortars on Škabrnja [ [http://www.un.org/icty/pressreal/2007/pr1162e-summary.htm Sentence judgement: the case of Milan Martić] ] , and soon invaded it with armored vehicles and tanks. They destroyed one APC and one tank, but the entire JNA battalion of thirty motorized units assaulted from two directions (one from Zemunik Gornji in the northwest and another from Biljane in the southeast) and soon overran the defenders.

The massacre

The Serbian paramilitaries entered the hamlet of Ambar and all prisoners, and then proceeded to the center of Škabrnja where they committed more acts of murder and taking some civilians as prisoners. In that one day, 43 civilians and 15 Croatian soldiers were killed, and numerous houses were destroyed.

Over the next couple of days, the murder count rose to 86, and much of the village was burnt and demolished. One group of 26 civilians was buried in a mass grave near the center of the village.

Trials for the massacre

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia indicted Milan Babić and Milan Martić for these atrocities, naming 38 civilian victims in Škabrnja (in addition to others in surrounding villages and elsewhere).

In a local Croatian Court, 18 were sentenced in 1995 for the massacre. A re-trial seems possible. [ [http://www.jutarnji.hr/clanak/art-2007,5,7,skabrnja_sudjenje,73398.jl hr icon Jutarnji List: Škabrnja retrial possible] ]


External links

* [http://www.fallingrain.com/world/HR/0/Skabrnje.html Geographical position of Škabrnja]

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