BELGRADE – Croatia’s Supreme Court has quashed a verdict against a former lawmaker convicted of war crimes for killing Serbian civilians and ordered a full retrial.

Branimir Glavas was sentenced in 2010 to eight years in jail over his role in the gruesome killing of Serbs during the 1990s war in the former Yugoslavia.

But last year the Constitutional Court annulled the verdict on procedural grounds and ordered the Supreme Court to review the case, leading to the July 28 decision upholding the verdict’s annulment and ordering a retrial.

Glavas, a former general and far-right lawmaker, declared he was vindicated by the court decisions. He was the highest-ranking Croatian politician to be convicted for war crimes during the 1991-95 conflict.

Glavas, a Bosnian national, had been found guilty of ordering the 1991 abduction, torture, and murder of at least 10 Serbs in the eastern town of Osijek.

“The message of this shameful act is that unpunished crimes against Serbs are normal and allowed,” Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said.

The proper handling of war crimes cases involving Croatian nationals was a key criteria in Zagreb’s bid to join the European Union in 2013.