location: Dvor is the main settlement in the municipality of Dvor which is situated in the region of Pounje. Up until 1995 Dvor was called Dvor na Uni. In 1991 there were 14.555 inhabitants in 64 settlements at the Dvor municipality territory. Serbs made up 86,5 percent of this population and Croatians 9,58 percent. The Croat population was mostly concentrated in six settlements along the Una river between Dvor and Kostajnica, where they made the absolute majority, while Serbs were the absolute majority in all of the remaining 58 settlements. According to the 2011 census, the population at the same territory totalled 5570 persons of whom 4005 or 71,9 percent were Serbs, and 1440 or 25,85 percent were Croats.
time: 8 August 1995
description of crime: On 8 August 1995, between 14:30 and 15:00 hours, 12 persons were shot dead at a school building in Dvor na Uni. Of these persons, ten were mentally and physically handicapped, while the other two were a married couple. According to information available, all victims were Serbs. A Danish battalion, then part of the UNCRO forces, which was stationed in Dvor, witnessed this crime. Jan Wellendorf, a member of the Danish battalion, gave an account to the Danish media, after which the case became known to the public abroad and in Croatia. According to this testimony, Danish troops had intended to react, i.e. fire shots and prevent the crime, but they received orders not to intervene and just observe. Civilians killed at the school in Dvor had been brought from Petrinja a few days earlier along with another 40 or so persons -psychiatric patients and inmates of an old people’s home – but the majority subsequently managed to flee to Bosanski Novi. Only persons with gravest disability, i.e. those who nobody wanted or could take along, stayed in Dvor.
potential perpetrators: First reports attributed the blame for the massacre to the Bosnian Army Fifth Corps, which, according to some reports, attacked a refugee column near the village Trgovi, only nine kilometers western of Dvor. It was the Danes themselves who cast doubt on the Fifth Corps. Finally, several Croatian and Serbian officers and civilians confirmed to the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) that there were no Bosnian Army soldiers in Dvor on August 8. This is further backed by sources from the Croatian State’s Attorney’s Office and the Serbian Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor.
Croatian Army entered Dvor in the early evening of August 7 by cutting off a refugee column near the roundabout in the vicinity of the bus station on the southwest outskirts of town. Fighting with Serbian soldiers from the column resulted in causalities on both sides and among civilians. The roundabout was of key importance to the Serbian side: the road Glina — Bosanski Novi, used by tens of thousands of refugees, goes through it. The next morning the remainder of the troops from Serbian Krajina launched a counterattack from the west and the south in order to ensure safe passage for the refugee column. Croatian Army retreated to positions in the immediate vicinity of Dvor. Croatian and Serbian versions of events mostly coincide up to this point, however both sides vehemently disagree about who controlled the area around the school in the early hours of the afternoon and whose side committed the killings.
In the Danish documentary general of the Serbian Krajina Army Mile Novaković claims that “the school was of no interest to Serbian forces”. In reality, on August 8 there was no one else in the vicinity except Serbian and Croatian forces.
judicial consequences: It is mostly referred to unidentified perpetrators with no insignia, and at the end of 2012 the Croatian State Prosecution and the Serbian Prosecution for War Crimes reached an agreement about further cooperation to establish and discover the perpetrators and all of the circumstances of this war crime, in order to finally solve the case. Witnesses were jointly questioned in Copenhagen, but for now there is no available information about results of these joint efforts. Thus, almost twenty years after the criminal act, perpetrators not only have not been prosecuted, but it has not been established with certainty which army they belonged to and why they had committed murders.
Although the State Attorney’s office marked the Dvor school murder as one of its priorities, there has been no progress in terms of initiating court proceedings for this crime. A Danish documentary dedicated to this event stirred a huge public controversy. The film was co-funded by the Croatian Audio Visual Centre (HAVC) and several veterans’ associations and individuals claimed that the film laid the responsibility for this crime on the Croatian Army, although the film actually focuses on questioning the responsibility of the Danish battalion and its commander.