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File:Spomenik zrtvama u Skabrnji.JPG

Monument to the victims in Škabrnja

Template:Campaignbox Croatian War of Independence Škabrnja massacre (Template:Lang-hr) was a war crime committed by Serb Army forces during the Croatian War of Independence.[1][2] On November 18, 1991, Serb paramilitaries, supported by the JNA, captured the village of Škabrnja (also: Škabrnje) and killed 25 Prisoners of war and 61 civilians over the next several days.[3]

Before the massacre

According to the 1991 census, Škabrnja (near Zadar) was inhabited by 1,953 people in 397 households, the vast majority of whom were Croats. No Serbs were recorded in the settlement. When the Croatian Serbs rebelled during the Croatian War of Independence, the aim of which was to form the Republic of Serbian Krajina, Škabrnja found itself surrounded by Serb-inhabited villages.

Villagers pulled together Croatian Army forces in October 1991. They were approached by the larger and more numerous Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and paramilitary forces. On 18 November 1991, Serbian forces fired mortars on Škabrnja,[1][2] and soon invaded it with armored vehicles and tanks, destroying one APC and one tank. The entire JNA battalion of thirty motorized units attacked from two directions (one from Zemunik Gornji in the northwest and another from Biljane in the southeast), soon overrunning the defenders.

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The massacre

The Serbian paramilitaries entered the hamlet of Ambar and massacred all prisoners, and then proceeded to the center of Škabrnja where they committed more acts of murder and taking some civilians as prisoners. In that one day, 43 civilians and 15 Croatian soldiers were killed, and numerous houses were destroyed.

Over the next couple of days, the murder count rose to 86, and much of the village was burnt and demolished. One group of 26 civilians was buried in a mass grave near the center of the village.

Trials for the massacre

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia indicted Milan Babić and Milan Martić for these atrocities, naming 38 civilian victims in Škabrnja (in addition to others in surrounding villages and elsewhere).[1][2]

At the County Court in Zadar, the State Prosecutor's Office indicted 18 people in August 1994 for 43 civilian deaths. Most of the group was sentenced on November 11, 1995 in absentia, and the sixteen convictees included: Goran Opačić, Boško Dražić, Zoran Janković, Đuro Kosović, Mirko Drača, Nada Pupovac, Zorana Banić, Vojin Lakić, Petar Radmanović, Milenko Bjelanović, Iso Bjelanović, Špiro Bjelanović, Renato Petrov, Desimir Ivaneža, Miroslav Mlinar, Marinko Pozder.[4][5]

A female nurse Zorana Banić, named number eight in the original indictment, was incarcerated after she was arrested in Switzerland in 2001 and extradited to Croatia.[6] Her initial sentence was 10 years in prison, but she was since re-tried twice. In 2003 she was found guilty by the County Court in Zadar and sentenced to 13 years in prison. The Supreme Court of Croatia ordered a re-trial, and in 2004 she was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Finally, the Supreme Court sentenced her to six years in prison.[7][5]

Another female defendent, Edita Rađen, a medical worker who was sentenced in absentia to a sentence of 15 years in prison, appealed based on an alleged alibi. The County Court in Zadar rejected the appeal, but the Supreme Court accepted it in 2007 and ordered a re-trial.[8]

A third nurse, Nada Pupovac, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 1995, but was never incarcerated. Two men have served prison time, Momčilo Drača and Jovan Badžoka.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Trial Chamber Judgement". "RSK" IT-95-11 - Milan Martić. International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. 2007-06-12. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Appeals Chamber Judgement". "RSK" IT-95-11 - Milan Martić. International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. 2008-10-08. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  3. "Odana počast ubijenima prije 12 godina - Žrtve iz Škabrnje nećemo zaboraviti [news article on commemoration]" (in Croatian). Slobodna Dalmacija. 2003-11-19. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Najveći pokolj civila u Domovinskom ratu" (in Croatian). Vjesnik. 2004-11-18. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Ivan Zvonimir Čičak (2006-08-04). "Pravo na srpstvo" (in Croatian). Jutarnji list. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  6. "Zorana je pucala po već mrtvim tijelima Škabrnjana" (in Croatian). Vjesnik. 2001-11-04. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  7. "Zorana Banić osuđena na 10 godina zatvora" (in Croatian). Vjesnik. 2004-07-02. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  8. "Novo suđenje Editi Rađen za Škabrnju [Škabrnja retrial for Edita Rađen]" (in Croatian). Jutarnji list. 2007-05-12. Retrieved 2010-11-21.

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de:Massaker von Škabrnja hr:Pokolj u Škabrnji 18. studenog 1991. sh:Masakr u Škabrnji

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