Jezik / Language:
13 February 2013

Grujic: Participating in Killings or Rescuing of the Wounded Person

During the trial of Slobodan Grujic, a former member of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS), the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina tried to prove that he, together with several unidentified people, participated in the arrest and killing of ten Bosniak civilians from the Zvornik area. The Prosecution requested the appropriate punishment.

Assessing the indictment as groundless, the Defence argued that the indictee is not guilty, and requested his acquittal. The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina is scheduled to pronounce the verdict on Thursday, February 14.

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina charges Grujic, a former member of the “Baljkovica” VRS unit, that he, along with several other people, took part in the capture and killings of ten Bosniak civilians in the municipality of Zvornik on May 10, 1992. The indictment alleges that the remains of ten civilians were exhumed in 1997 at Pandurica, and that only one civilian survived the shooting.

“I was lying with my face towards the ground, tied. I closed my eyes and stopped breathing, pretending to be dead. One individual came up to me and put his fingers on my neck to measure the pulse. He went to the road and said: ‘He is alive, go and kill him.’ Then, I managed to trundle down the slope”, said the witness, describing the shooting.

During the trial which lasted about ten months, a total of 15 witnesses and two expert witnesses were examined. Indictee Grujic defended himself while at liberty and his trial began on April 4, 2012.

Arrange the Archers

The attack on the Zvornik villages began at the beginning of May 1992. Witness A, together with his father and a neighbour from the village of Potocani, moved to Kalesija, which was under the control of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ABiH). At Zmajevac, Serb soldiers captured and took them in a column of 14 civilians to Pandurica.

“About 500 metres from Pandurica, an unknown soldier approached and said: ‘Do not take them any further’. The soldier stood behind our backs and fired at us. I threw myself under the road and I know that others began to flee. I heard someone say: ‘Arrange the archers, do not let them escape,’” the witness said.

Having pretended to be dead, the witness trundled down the slope and managed to get into a water channel. The witness said that he heard then that soldiers were looking for him. The witness fled the channel and hid in a bush, and the next day managed to get to Kalesija.

The witness did not see whether indictee Grujic shot at the prisoners, but he claims that Grujic was among the soldiers who escorted him and the 13 other civilians.

Milos Grujic, uncle of the indictee, said that on May 10, 1992, he saw captured Bosniaks near the village of Baljkovica, among which he recognised his neighbours.

“I could not remember their names well, but among them were men, women and children, all civilians. They were lying on their stomachs, with hands tied to their backs,” said Milos Grujic, pointing out that he saw many soldiers on the road to Baljkovica, but that he cannot claim with certainty whether the indictee was there.

Witnesses Pasa Memisevic, Sacir Ahmetovic and Mehmedalija Mumic said that the witness who survived the shooting had claimed that indictee Grujic was in a group of people who participated in the murder of their closest ones, among whom was also a minor child.

Ahmetovic said that his brother Alija, his wife and his young son, Ramo, were among those killed. The witness said that to this day they have not managed to find the remains of his brother’s wife and child.

Vedo Tuco, an expert of forensic medicine, said that eight people have been identified, while some of them were found to be victims of gunshot injuries.

Several witnesses who testified in favour of the Defence were examined during the trial. They spoke about the wounding and killing of several Serb civilians, claiming that it is not known to them that the Bosniaks were killed in Pandurica.

Helping the Wounded

Witnesses Miladin Gavric and Lazar Jovanovic said that the village of Baljkovica was attacked on May 9, 1992, when five Serbs were killed and ten were injured.

“Three brothers and their cousin were killed. Stojka Grujic was killed during the attack, and a dozen others were wounded”, Gavric said, adding that he delivered the wounded Nedjeljko Grujic to Slobodan Grujic.

Nedjeljko Grujic said that the indictee saved his life after he was wounded in the village of Baljkovica “during the Muslim attack” on May 9, 1992. The witness explained that the indictee carried him up to Brezik, from where he was taken to a hospital in Loznica, Serbia. According to the witness, the indictee later remained in Brezik.

Uros Grujic, the indictee’s uncle, said that during the “Green Berets” attack on May 9, 1992, his wife Stojka was killed, and he and his three sons were wounded.

Sretko Rebic, witness of the Defence, said that about ten o'clock on May 10, he met the indictee, who wore civilian clothes, and that he did not see him after this. Regarding the captured Bosniaks who were executed on the same day at Pandurica, witness Rebic said that he was not aware of this.

Witness Radovan Gavric said that on May 9, 1992, when the attack on the village of Baljkovica started, he saw indictee Grujic taking the wounded Nedeljko Grujic towards Brezik.

“I led Nedeljko to Molitvista, which was near Pandurica. Shortly before Molitvista, Slobodan Grujic took him over and went with him”, Gavric said, adding that he spent the day after the attack on Baljkovica at Molitvista, where he also saw the indictee.

He said that on that day he did not hear any gunfire from the direction of Pandurica.

Radenko Vukovic, forensic medicine expert, presented his findings based on an analysis on the remains which were found in a mass grave at Pandurica. The expert said that the current documentation does not contain detailed descriptions of the gunshot wounds.

“It can not be argued for all injuries on the remains that they are the result of the effect of the projectiles from hand-powered firearms”, said the expert Vukovic, adding that some of the fractures on the remains are not typical of gunshot injuries, and that they could arise during transportation or by “thumping hay-forks” into the bodies.

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