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War Crimes

Fugitive Croatian War Criminal Surrenders in Peru

Igor Mikola, a member of the ‘Mercepovci’ police unit involved in the notorious killing of a Serb family in Croatia in 1991, gave himself up after a gunfight in Lima.

Josip Ivanovic BIRN Zagreb

Mikola turned himself in to police after escaping being hit in a suspected drug-crime-related shoot-out at a McDonald’s fast-food restaurant in the Peruvian capital, Croatian media reported on Monday.

The fugitive war criminal’s Serbian friend, Goran Stavric, also a wanted criminal on Interpol’s search list, was killed in the shooting, the aftermath of which was captured by surveillance cameras.

“The images show that both of them entered the restaurant but after the shooting, the Croat came out, got in the car and fled, but a day after the crime, Igor Mikola surrendered to the police,” said a Lima police source quoted by Croatian media.

During wartime, Mikola was a part of the ‘Mercepovci’ reservist police unit under the command of Tomislav Mercep, a senior police official currently standing trial on war crimes charges in Zagreb.

Mikola confessed to involvement in the notorious killing of three members of the Zec family, including a 12-year-old girl, near Zagreb in 1991.

But he was never convicted of the murders and went free after a highly contentious not-guilty verdict which has been condemned by human rights activists and Croatian officials.

However Mikola was convicted of taking part in killing another man in 1991 and sentenced to five years in jail, but left Croatia immediately after the judgment was handed down in September 2005.

Before fleeing to Peru, he was jailed for 27 months in Bosnia and Herzegovina for extortion.

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