Slovenia denies its troops participation in war crime in 1991

Slovenia 's government on Friday denied allegations its troops committed a war crime against Yugoslav soldiers during the country's 1991 war for independence from the ex-Yugoslavia. "Two separate investigations, carried out in 1991 and again in 1999, undoubtedly proved that no war crime was committed" by Slovene troops in June 1991, when several Yugoslav soldiers allegedly were shot dead at a border crossing.

The case resurfaced recently, when a Slovene human rights activist, Neva Miklavcic-Predan, publicly declared the alleged incident filmed at the time by Austria 's ORF television a war crime. The footage was shown on a Serbian independent TV channel last week, immediately triggering demands by senior officials there that Slovenia investigates the incident and punish the perpetrators.

Slovenia 's declaration of independence in May 1991 triggered a 10-day war with Yugoslav troops, which tried to prevent it from seceding. Dozens died and the war was followed by much longer and bloodier wars in Croatia , Bosnia and Kosovo.

The footage of the 1991 incident at the Holmec border crossing with Austria , where Slovene troops fought with the Yugoslav army, shows several Yugoslav soldiers carrying a white cloth and raising their hands in the air, apparently to surrender. Then, the gunfire is heard and the troops are seen falling down.

The footage does not show clearly who fired the shots, nor whether the soldiers actually died. Miklavcic-Predan and Serbian officials believe they did, and killing surrendering troops would be considered a war crime. But the Slovene government insisted they dropped down to avoid gunfire and that none of them were killed, reports the AP.


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