After having been cleared of all charges regarding war crimes in Slovenia by the Local Court of Murska Sobota in October 2015, Berislav Popov, the colonel of the former Yugoslav People’s Army (YPA) and one of the main aggressors in the Slovenian Independence War in 1991, has been awarded €3,108 in an out of court settlement. The Slovenian Press Agency reports that last spring Popov already filed a claim for an indemnity of €5,000, despite having previously claimed that he is not yet sure about the potential indemnity lawsuit. In Slovenia, Popov had been, as the only member of the YPA, sentenced to five years in prison for war crimes in the Ten-Day War, but the Higher Court granted the case a rehearing at a lower instance court. Popov has been charged for war crimes both in Croatia and Serbia, and Croatians have even issued an international arrest warrant against him.
Let us recall: The most bizarre part of the story was the appointment of two former YPA officers as court experts, even though there were so many other more deserving candidates who had been schooled at prestigious military academies across the world. There are quite a few of those in Slovenia. Berislav Popov was acquitted with the help of two Slovenian court experts, Tomaž Pörš and Marko Unger, who had been his comrades during the war – on the side of the YPA. During the Slovenian Independence War, Unger was operating under the same command as the accused colonel Popov; supposedly Popov had even worked as Unger’s instructor at the YPA military academy.
Croatia issued an arrest warrant against Popov; will Serbia hand him over?
It is hard to believe, however, that the colonel will live peacefully from here on out since Croatia has issued an international arrest warrant against him. In Croatia and Serbia, Popov has been convicted by final judgement – Croatians are prosecuting him for war crimes, and the Serbians for his capitulation during the war in Croatia. Popov supposedly lives in Beograd, but our sources suggest that he may now paradoxically look for refuge in the country that he attacked first – in Slovenia.