The Centre for Peace Studies (CMS) human rights NGO on Thursday filed two criminal reports against unidentified police officers suspected of having handed over, in two separate cases, 13 migrants to unidentified men who tortured, humiliated and unlawfully deported them, while one of the victims was also raped.
The nongovernmental organisation said that in the first case, the victims, including a child, were stopped by police officers in Slunjcica, near the central town of Slunj. According to the victims’ accounts, they were detained in the local police station for two days without food. They were then taken to Karlovac County Court to testify as witnesses against the fifth member of the group.
The NGO says that the court documents showed that information provided by the victims about their identity and the date and place of their arrest was authentic.
The CMS says the court documents prove that the victims were in police custody. After their testimony and without any prior procedure, police took the migrants to an unknown location, where they were handed over to armed men in black uniforms and balaclavas.
“The armed men brutally tortured the victims and then unlawfully expelled them to Bosnia and Herzegovina, beaten up and almost completely naked,” the CMS says.
In the second case, according to the victims’ accounts, the perpetrators first beat and tortured them in the railway station building in Blata, after which they were detained by police in the police station garage in Ogulin, without being given any food or an explanation as to why they were being detained.
The victims were then taken with another group of refugees to an unknown location and again handed over to men in black uniforms who beat them, forced them to take off their clothes and lie on one another and then unlawfully banished them to Bosnia and Herzegovina while threatening and ridiculing them.
The NGO says that the cases have already been reported by The Guardian and Jutarnji List dailies and that it has filed a report requesting an investigation into collaboration between Croatian police and armed men who are believed to be members of a special police unit involved in an operation dubbed “Corridor.”
The Ministry of the Interior has said that it has promptly launched an investigation into the allegations with the aim of “removing any suspicion regarding the conduct of Croatian police or if need be, punishing and removing irregularities.”
It notes that the investigation has once again been hampered by the fact that, apart from media reports, no other information has been received through official channels from Bosnia and Herzegovina, hence it has requested the Bosnian side to provide possible information on the latest allegations.