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Office of the County Public Prosecutor v. Dinko Ljubomir Šakić

Court County Court in Zagreb, Croatia (Hrvatska)
Case number K-242/98
Decision title Amended Indictment
Decision date 8 July 1999
  • Office of the County Public Prosecutor
  • Dinko Ljubomir Šakić
Categories Torture, War crimes
Keywords War crimes against civilians; detention; murder; torture; World War II; Jasenovac concentration camp
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Dinko Ljubomir Šakić was born on 8 September 1921 in the village of Studenci in Perušić, Croatia. Šakić was the commander of the Jasenovac concentration camp from April until November 1944. During that time, more than 2,000 Serbs, Jews and Gypsies were killed under his command. Moreover, detainees were hanged, starved, brutally tortured and murdered. Šakić personally killed at least four detainees, two of them just for smiling.On 4 October 1999, he was found guilty for the crimes and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

In July 2008, Šakić died at the age of 86 in a hospital in Zagreb.

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Procedural history

On 20 April 1998, the County Public Prosecutor’s Office submitted a request to the investigating judge of the County Court in Zagreb for an investigation into crimes allegedly committed by Dinko Ljubomir Šakić.

On 21 April 1998, the County Court in Zagreb issued a decision ordering the conduct of an investigation as well as the detention of Šakić.

On 24 April 1998, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Croatia submitted to the Republic of Argentina a request seeking Šakić’s extradition as he was residing there. After proceedings had been conducted before the Federal Court in Dolores, the Republic of Argentina's executive authorities passed a decision to extradite Šakić to the Republic of Croatia.

On 18 June 1998, Šakić was extradited.

On 19 June 1998, Šakić stated before the investigating judge of the County Court in Zagreb that he understood the charges.

On 14 December 1998, the Office of the County Public Prosecutor issued an indictment against Šakić.

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Related developments

On 4 October 1999, the Zagreb County Court found Šakić guilty of war crimes against civilians and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. In particular, he was found guilty of ordering executions, torturing and inhumanely treating civilians, intimidation, collective punishments, forced labour, and starvation of detainees at the Jasenovac concentration camp.

On 20 July 2008, Šakić died at the age of 86 in a hospital in Zagreb.

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Legally relevant facts

In the early 1940s, Šakić was a member of the "Ustasha Defence" in the headquarters of the camps Stara Gradiška and Jasenovac. The Ustasha Defence was organised and put in charge of organising the military units which secured the camps and the surrounding area.

Between April and November 1944, Šakić was the commander of the Jasenovac concentration camp. The indictment alleged that during that period, Šakić ‘abused, tortured and killed the internees by personally issuing orders and participating in their implementation and at the same time by not undertaking anything to prevent the directly subordinated members of the "Ustasha Defence" from doing the same’ (p. 1). The particular crimes charged included excessive hard physical labour, starvation, torture, and physical and mental abuse, and hanging or murdering detainees (personally and together with other Ustasha Defence officials) (p. 1).

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Core legal questions

Can Šakić be charged with war crimes against civilians?

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Specific legal rules and provisions

Hague Convention (IV), 1907:

  • Article 46

  • Article 50

Criminal Code, 1997, Republic of Croatia:

  • Article 120(1) - Destruction of Ballot Documentation

Criminal Procedure Act, Republic of Croatia:

  • Article 341 - Witness testimony
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Further analysis

A. Neier, Bringing War Criminals to Justice: A Brief History, Social Research, Winter 2002, Vol. 69(4), pp. 1085-1092.

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Instruments cited

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Additional materials

Podignuta Optužnica Protiv Dinka Šakića’, Vijesti.

Dinko Šakić’, JUSP Jasenovac.

‘Dinko Ljubomir Sakic’, Encyclopaedia Britannica.

‘Croatian war crimes suspect arrested in Argentina’, BBC News, 1 May 1998.

‘Trial and retribution’, BBC News, 13 October 1999.

Trial of Dinko Šakić’, Croatian Institute for Culture and Information, 1 November 1999.

P. Davison, ’Dinko Sakic’, The Scotsman, 22 July 2008.

S. Vukic, ‘Dinko Sakic; Concentration Camp Commander’, The Washington Post, 25 July 2008.

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Social media links

S. Mikolčević , ‘U logoru 3C bilo je i kanibalizma’, Jutarnjilist.

G. Dinmore, ‘Croatia Confronting Past As Nazi Ally’, Chicago Tribune, 19 June 1998.

V. Peric-Zimonjic, ‘RIGHTS-BALKANS: Husband And Wife War Crimes Suspects Face Trial’, Inter Press Service, 5 August 1998.