Further to a request lodged by the Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor, an
investigative judge of the Belgrade District Court’s War Crimes Chamber
is on the point of launching investigation against Milivoj Ašner (95),
an Austrian citizen suspected of involvement in the crimes committed
in Požega (Croatia) between May 1941 and the latter part of September
1942. According to the Prosecutor’s charges, Ašner, at the time head
of the Požega police station, is criminally responsible for offences
recognized as genocide and crimes against humanity.
The Prosecutor claims that there are reasonable grounds for suspicion that Ašner,
intent on the total destruction of the Serb and Jewish ethnic
and religious communities, acting alone or in concert with
other government structures, ordered the killing, extermination,
persecution, expulsion, torturing and forceful displacement
of Serbs and Jews. Ašner also personally engaged in the execution
of similar orders that he received from his superiors – officials
of the then Independent Republic of Croatia (NDH).
In August 1941, as many as 438 civilians,
who had been arrested in the area of Derventa and Bosanski
Brod, were severely beaten and then transferred to the concentration
camp in Slavonska Požega, where they were killed because of
their alleged participation in a revolt against the state authorities.
Additionally, Ašner is suspected of deportation of Požega Jews
to the so-called “death camps“ in Croatia – Gospić, Jasenovac
Like in the cases against Egner and Kepiro,
the War Crimes Prosecutor has opened pretrial proceedings in
the Ašner case upon the initiative taken by Dr. Efraim Zuroff,
head of the Jerusalem Simon Wiesenthal Center. Since pretrial
proceedings related to Ašner’s role in the said acts and his
responsibility for war crimes against civilian population are
currently under way before the District Court in Požega (Croatia),
copies of all documentary materials have been obtained from
the Požega District Prosecutor.
The Serbian Prosecutor has urged the Court
to open investigation against Ašner without hearing the suspect,
and to rule his detention. In the meantime, the Prosecutor
suggests that the Serbian Ministry of Justice should seek Ašner’s
extradition from Austria.
Public Relations Service
Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor