location: The crime was committed in Poljana, a small town 25 kilometers by road between Pakrac and Kutina. Poljana was part of Pakrac under the previous administrative structure, which was valid in 1991 and today it is a part of Lipik. The settlement is better known to the wider audience under the name of Pakračka Poljana, which defines its approximate location. Another reason for this is probably that its official name until 1981 used to be Poljana Pakračka. In 1991 the population was 669, of which the majority were Croats who made 60,69 percent, and there was a considerable number of Czechs who represented 22,7 percent of the population. There were 27 persons of Serb ethnicity. Today Poljana has 547 inhabitants. Ethnic structures of population for settlements that do not have status of municipality or town are still not available.

time: 8 October 1991 to mid December 1991

description of crime: In the fall of 1991, the Croatian Ministry of Interior’s reserve unit was stationed in Pakračka Poljana. During the mentioned period of time, members of this unit brought illegally arrested Serb civilians and a smaller number of Croats to Društveni dom (community centre) which was turned into an improvised prison. These civilians were interrogated there, procedures were accompanied by frequent beatings, torture and a number of murders. People were most often taken from their homes, almost as a rule they were asked for and stripped of money and other valuables, including cars, in one case, they even took a vacuum cleaner and an iron. Some of the prisoners were tortured with electric shocks, their wounds were sprinkled with salt or vinegar and torture often included blows with hard objects, knives were also used, several women were raped, prisoners were forced to greet their torturers with “Za dom spremni” (For homeland ready), and they were tortured in many other ways. This briefly described torture is only a smaller part of the crime because several dozen persons in Pakračka Poljana were killed with firearms or died as a consequence of beatings. Serb civilians were brought to the prison camp mostly from villages in Pakrac, Kutina and Daruvar area, but at least three were brought from Zagreb. The camp was situated at the then fair grounds, where the same unit was also stationed. Victims were most often executed by firearms at close range, bullets to the head, after which they were buried in shallow graves, mostly in close vicinity of Poljane. The bodies of at least six victims have yet to be found.

persons who are still registered as missing in Pakračka Poljana:

  1. Pero Novković, born in 1940 – disappeared on 16 November 1991
  2. Milan Popović, born in 1929 – disappeared on 10 November 1991
  3. Milan Gunjević, born in 1952 – went missing on 10 October 1991
  4. Konstantin Radić Kojo from Kričke village – went missing in mid October 1991
  5. Pero Rajčević form Kutina – went missing after 11 October 1991
  6. Milan Radonić, from Kutina area – taken to Pakračka Poljana on 26 October 1991 where he was tortured and humiliated, after which he disappeared without trace.

information on exhumation and identification of victims: Victims of the previously described crime have been exhumed in different locations and then identified at the Zagreb Institute for Forensic Medicine as follows:

  1. Ljuban Harambašić
  2. Pavle Ignjatović
  3. Mirko Cicvara
  4. Tejkan Kutić
  5. Mihajlo Vučković
  6. Ljubica Vučković
  7. Ostoja Subanović
  8. Božo Velebit
  9. Stoja Ignjatović
  10. Miloš Ivošević
  11. Rade Pajić

Bodies were found in Kukunjevac, Bujavci and at the locations Veliki Jarak and Mali Gaj.

judicial outcome: According to the verdict by the Zagreb County Court from September 2005, the following persons were sentenced to a total of 30 years in prison for illegal detention, torture, looting and murders: the main defendant Munib Suljić (ten years), Siniša Rimac (eight years), Igor Mikola (five years), Miroslav Bajramović (four years) and Branko Šarić (three years). In May 2006, the Supreme Court increased Suljić’s term to 12 years, Igor Mikola was on the run since the first instance ruling was handed down, and was extradited from Peru in 2015. Tomislav Merčep as the (in)formal commander of this group, was arrested in December 2010, and six months later – in June 2011 – was indicted by the County Court in Zagreb. He was charged based on command responsibility for crimes in Pakračka Poljana and, on the same grounds, for the murder of the Zec family.