“The Novo mesto District Court has rejected the criminal complaints against Serb Dragomir Grujović, who has been repeatedly accused of war crimes against civilians as well as attempted murder in the last three decades, which means that he has now been acquitted. Three decades after Slovenia gained its independence, the oldest criminal case, the last from the period of gaining our independence, has finally received judicial closure. Grujović, for whom detention was ordered, and a warrant was issued, will now be able to cross the border without fear of being put behind bars,” the Delo newspaper reported on Friday. This is an “exceptional” gift to Slovenia on its 30th birthday. Slovenian courts have acquitted all of the aggressor attackers.
And while Dragomir Grujović is considered a hero in his native Serbia, the actual heroes of Slovenian independence, such as Tone Krkovič, are being dragged through court proceedings, and their reputation is being tarnished, even though they acted legally decades ago and, above all, defended their homeland. It seems as if, on the 30th occasion of the birth of our homeland, they cynically wanted to show who still has the main say in our judiciary and also that in the decades-long period of transition, nothing much has changed. The prosecution charged former Yugoslav People’s Army – YPA commissioned officed Grujović with shooting Branimir Furlan, who was the commander of a unit and an underground army warehouse, on the 29th of June 1991, in Puščava near Mokronog.
There were forty-five soldiers in the warehouse. After shooting Furlan, Grujović threatened to blow the warehouse up for a couple more days. There were over seven million litres of fuel in it. As a result, several hundred residents around the site of the potential crime had to be evacuated. Gjurović claims he acted correctly and that his conscience is clear, and he has lived in Serbia ever since. He has not been in Novo mesto since 1991, and the trial took place in his absence. He was ordered into custody in September 1997, but when the ruling was overturned on Friday, this was also cancelled, and his European arrest warrant and the international arrest warrant will now also be revoked. According to Gjurović, he was actually acting in self-defence in the Furlan case, as he was merely reacting to the fact that Furlan intended to pull out a gun. As he further asserted, he did not intend to kill him but only to hand him over as a prisoner.
In May, part of the complaint that accused him of war crimes against civilians for threatening to blow up the warehouse was withdrawn, and now the accusation of attempted murder of Furlan has also been dropped, which would have otherwise expired at the end of June this year. According to the court, this was not attempted murder, but Gjurović was merely trying to incapacitate the opposing elder. With that, the complaint was turned into a criminal offence of causing grievous bodily harm. On top of that, Grujović could have demanded compensation from Slovenia due to the length of the proceedings, but the decision on this has not yet been made.
Furlan’s story: Gjurović suddenly pulled a gun on him, standing only five meters away, and shot him without warning
Furlan, on the other hand, tells a completely different story. He was supposed to peacefully negotiate with Grujović on disarming the members of the Yugoslav People’s Army, their changing into civilian clothes and the distribution of money for their trip home. Gjurović allegedly approached Furlan, claiming that he did not know how to distribute the money, and suddenly pulled a gun from behind his belt. He then allegedly shot Furlan into the bend of his leg from a distance of five meters, without any warning, shouting: “Who are you in favour of?!” With its verdict, the judiciary sided with a member of the aggressor YPA, who many believe should be tried by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, while also turning away from those who left the YPA to join the Territorial Defence and work for Slovenia and its independence.