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Croat parliament opens way for war crime process

Written by: Staff
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ZAGREB, May 10 (Reuters) The Croatian parliament today lifted immunity from prosecution for a deputy suspected of committing war crimes in the Croatian independence war, state radio reported.

In an unprecedented move, the parliament voted late today to lift the parliamentary immunity for independent deputy Branimir Glavas after the state attorney office recently said it wanted to complete an investigation about killings of Serb civilians in 1991 in the eastern city of Osijek.

Glavas is a suspect as he was in charge of the city's defence at the beginning of the 1991-95 war in which Croatia fought against the Yugoslav army and rebel Serb minority backed by Belgrade.

Glavas denies any wrongdoing, saying he will be proven innocent if a trial takes place. He told parliament the case against him was because of ''political motives''.

He was expelled from the ruling conservative party HDZ a year ago after he disagreed with party policy. Analysts said he clashed with party leader and Prime Minister Ivo Sanader over Sanader's pro-European policy.

In recent years, as it advances towards European Union membership, Croatia has made an effort to come to terms with war crimes committed by its citizens.

Two months ago, a Croatian court sentenced eight former military policemen to six to eight years in jail for torturing and killing Serb prisoners of war in 1992 in a prison in the southern Adriatic city of Split.

REUTERS PDS PM0129

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