On 8 December 2020, pursuant to an indictment raised by the War Crimes Prosecutor, the War Crimes Department – part of the Higher Court in Belgrade passed a first instance judgment in the case addressing a war crime committed in village Bogdanovci outside Vukovar, Croatia, at the time part of the SFRY. Defendant Boško SOLDATOVIĆ was pronounced guilty of the criminal offence under article 142 (1) (war crime against civilian population) and sentenced to 15 (fifteen) years in prison.
The incident relevant to this case occurred in the vicinity of the Local Community building on 11 November 1991. As a member of the Military Police unit operating within the Second Proletarian Guards Mechanised Brigade – part of the Yugoslav People’s Army, defendant SOLDATOVIĆ – acting upon nobody’s instruction or approval and without any reason – took the lives of nine local non-Serb civilians, namely: Ljulje Barcelaj; Vera Barcelaj; Mrika Barcelaj; Đulja Barcelaj; Krista Lešaj; Manika Lešaj; Pren Krasnići; Zef Paljušaj; and Nikola Palušaj. Hit by multiple gunshots, all of the aforementioned died on the spot.
Proceedings in this case included interviews with a number of witnesses and expert witnesses, some of whom testified via video-conference links, whereas others were heard in the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor, i.e. during the trial before the War Crimes Department – part of the Higher Court In Belgrade.