location: Varivode is situated ten kilometers southeast from Kistanje in Bukovica. Today it belongs to the Kistanje municipality, but until 1991 it was a part of the Knin municipality. According to the 1991 census, Varivode had 477 inhabitants, all of them Serbs. According to 2011 census Varivode have a population of 124 and although data about the ethnic structure are not yet available, it can be said that Serbs still make great majority of today’s population.

time: 28 September 1995

description of crime: On 28 September 1995, almost two months after the end of the military operation Storm, several Croatian troops and police forces arrived during the night, to the Varivode village and killed nine civilians using firearms. All of the killings took place in the victims’ yards and houses, at spots where they happened to be at that moment. They were all elderly Serbs.


  1. Dušan Dukić (59)
  2. Špiro Berić (55)
  3. Jovo Berić (75)
  4. Jovan Berić (56)
  5. Radivoj Berić (69)
  6. Marija Berić (69)
  7. Milka Berić (67)
  8. Marko Berić (82)
  9. Mirko Pokrajac (84)

information about exhumation and identification of victims: All bodies of the killed persons were buried in a mass grave in Knin, and apart from external inspection, autopsies was never performed. In 2001 all bodies buried at the Knin town cemetery were exhumed and handed over to their families after identification.

judicial consequences: Six members of Croatian police forces were suspected of this crime, but after proceedings before County Court in Zadar and a repeated trial before the County Court in Šibenik, defendants were acquitted, which returned the investigation to the beginning and this time against unknown perpetrators. Ten years after the completed criminal procedure before Šibenik court, there is no new information or prosecution of perpetrators responsible for the crime in Varivode. Jovan Berić and his sisters initiated court proceedings seeking compensation on behalf of their killed parents. On 18 January 2012, the Supreme Court issued a ruling stating that the plaintiff’s appeal was accepted, and on this basis, Šibenik and Knin courts’ decisions were annulled and the case was returned for retrial. In the mentioned ruling, the Supreme Court maintained that the deaths of Radivoje and Marija Berić were caused by a terrorist act, i.e. act of violence committed for political reasons and with the goal to incite fear, horror and a feeling of personal insecurity among citizens. On this basis, the Republic of Croatia is responsible per the principle of social solidarity, bearing of public burden and a just and speedy compensation. In this precedential ruling by the Supreme Court, the victims’ families were given the right to compensation; regardless of the fact that perpetrators were not identified, criminally charged or declared guilty. At the municipal court in Knin, on 23 January 2013, Judge Ana Jelač – Pecirep, president of the Municipal Court, issued a ruling in the civil lawsuit of plaintiff Jovan Berić and others versus Republic of Croatia in a repeated trial based on the Supreme Court’s ruling from January 2012. Based on this judgment, Croatia must pay 540.000 kuna in compensation to the children of Radivoje and Marija Berić killed in the village of Varivode.