In July 2005, Krunoslav Fehir made the decision to inform the Zagreb Attorney-General about the events which took place on 31 August 1991. After an inquiry lasting more than 9 months, a criminal procedure was opened up on 5 April 2006 by the Croatian Chief Prosecutor against Branimir Glavas. On 25 April 2006, the Prosecutor, Mladen Bajic, sent an official inquiry report to the examining magistrate of the Zagreb district court and to Vladimir Seks (President of the Croatian Parliament) requesting permission to open up a criminal investigation against Glavas.
In May 2006, in order to be able to open up a formal criminal investigation against Glavas, the Croat Attorney-General requested the Croatian Parliament to lift his parliamentary immunity. On 10 May 2006, this request was granted. Glavas attempted to put up opposition to this investigation with an appeal to the Zagreb Appeals Court. This court rejected his request on 5 July 2006.
An official inquiry against Glavas was opened on 17 July 2006. The evidence on which the Glavas file was based was gathered by three groups of investigators: that of the Croatian National Police, that of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (which had opened up an inquiry against Glavas before deciding to defer the case to the Croatian judicial authorities in order to lighten its case load and terminate its activities before the end of 2008), and that of the Serbian Public Prosecutor. It was expected that some 45 witnesses for the prosecution in addition to those for the defence would be heard.
The State Prosecutor lodged repeated requests to have Glavas arrested during the period of the official investigations. In late October 2006, the investigating judge finally issued an arrest warrant. On 26 October 2006, Glavas, on his own accord, turned himself over to the judicial authorities.
Glavas denied having committed any war crimes, and held that the criminal investigation was motivated by purely political considerations, since its starting point coincided with his departure from the HDZ, the Croatian party in power in 2006.
A second investigation opened up against Glavas concerned the killing of six Serb civilians, whose bodies were then thrown into the river Drava.
On 2 December 2006, Glavas was released from custody pending trial, because the authorities concluded that as a result of his 37-day hunger strike his health had become seriously endangered. The investigating judge ruled at the time that Glavas was unfit to attend legal hearings.
On 8 February 2007, the case against Glavas was reopened, and on 16 April Glavas was indicted on war crimes charges by a Croatian district court. Following the indictment, he was again put in custody.
On 27 April 2007 Glavas again went on a hunger strike. He continued to deny any wrongdoing, claiming that he had only acted to defend his country against Serb assaults.
On 9 May a second indictment on war crimes charges was brought against him on charges of ordering the torture and killing of at least two Serb civilians
The trial against Glavas and his 6 co-accused began on 15 October 2007 before the county court in Osijek. He was liable for a prison term of between five and twenty years.
On 25 November 2007 Glavas was re-elected to parliament in the Croatian legislative elections
On 14 July 2008, the trial was adjourned until the end of September 2008 due to the bad health of Krnjack, one of the co-defendants. Since over two months had elapsed since the last hearing, this meant that under the law, a retrial became necessary.
On 8 May 2009, Glavas was found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Five other defendants were found guilty and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 5 to 8 years.
Glavas had the benefit of parliamentary immunity and was not in court to hear the verdict. According to local media, he had fled to Bosnia, where he holds dual nationality, since Bosnian law does not permit extradition.
According to Croatian law, anyone sentenced to a prison term of 5 years and above must be put in preventative detention whilst awaiting the appeal trial.
On 13 May 2009, Glavas was arrested in the vicinity of Kupres, in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The Justice Ministry of the Croatian Republic then filed a request with the Bosnian authorities for the extradition of Glavas but on 23 June 2009, the Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina rejected this request.
On 30 July 2010, the Supreme Court of Croatia confirmed the verdict but reduced the sentence of Glavas from ten to eight years. The Court said the verdict was “legally correct” but he should be sentenced for “one criminal act of war crimes against civilians” and not for two as he had initially been by a Zagreb court in 2009. “The number of victims of war crimes does not influence the number of criminal acts that a perpetrator makes,” it said. “So there were no legal grounds that the verdict of Glavas be divided into two separate criminal acts of war crimes against civilians,” added the Court.
On 28 September 2010 the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has upheld the Croatian verdict against Glavas and declared him guilty for the criminal act of war crimes against the civilian population.
On 29 November 2010, the Defence of Glavas called on the Appellate Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina to revoke the verdict against Glavas and order a retrial or pronounce a shorter sentence. The State Prosecution objected to the request.
On 12 January 2015, the Croatian constitutional court revoked the ruling convicting Glavas, and ordered new proceedings against him. The Court found that both the Supreme and County courts had used the wrong legal conventions in the cases against him. It also ordered the Supreme Court to check if his human rights and fundamental freedoms had been breached.
After the revoke of the judgement, Croatia’s Zagreb County Court issued a warrant for his arrest, ruling that another previous verdict in which he was convicted still remained valid. However, on 27 January 2015, the court revoked the arrest warrant.Glavas has been released from custody.