Jezik / Language:
2 March 2016

Andabak Was Commander in Charge of Livno School Building, Witness Says

Lamija Grebo BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A state prosecution witness testifying at the trial of three former Croatian Defense Council military policemen said the people detained in the Ivan Goran Kovacec school building in Livno weren’t civilians, but members of illegal Serb formations.

Defendants Zdenko Andabak, Muamir Jasarevic and Sead Velagic are on trial for the detention, torture and murder of Serb civilians in the Ivan Goran Kovacic school building in 1992. The indictment against them contains 29 counts.

According to the charges, Andabak was the commander of military police of the Croatian Defense Council (HVO) for the North-Western Herzegovina Operational Zone, Jasarevic was his deputy, while Velagic was a member of the Crime Service of the Croatian Defense Council military police.

Dragan Konta, a former member of the military police of the Croatian Defense Council, said Serb forces conducted two attacks on Livno in April 1992. He said Serb formations were arrested and brought to the school after the attacks.

Konta said that according to his findings, the detainees weren’t civilians, but illegally armed Serbs. Konta said he saw them in civilian clothing in the sports hall, where there were about 150 of them.

According to Konta, commanding officers received orders to arrest them from Muhamed Ibrahimovic, the chief of the Crime Service of the military police in Livno. According to his findings, Ibrahimovic was appointed by Zdenko Andabak.

He said Ibrahimovic could not issue any orders to Andabak. He said he was subordinate to the defendant in terms of the command responsibility.

Konta said the military police moved into the Ivan Goran Kovacic school building in late April or early May.

“Zdenko Andabak was the commander. Jasarevic and Carli, whose name I don’t know, were his assistants. Miran Brkic and Zeljko Mihajlovic were there as well. They came from a special unit from Croatia,” Konta said.

Konta said that in his opinion, the military police commander should and must have known what was going on in the school building from daily reports submitted to him.

“I never saw nor attended any abuse,” Konta said. He said he saw the “celavci” (the “bald men”), who were introduced as captured members of a commando group. They were accommodated in special cells.

During cross-examination, Konta said he was in the field in Jablanica with Jasarevic, who was one of the commanding officers of the group in the field. He was unable to confirm whether Jasarevic left Jablanica in the meantime.

Hajrudin Hodzic, who was a member of Croatian Defense Council’s military police in Livno for a certain period of time in 1992, testified at this hearing.

“While I was there, I listened to Andabak. I don’t know if he was formally appointed, but he was my superior officer. One had to ask him,” Hodzic said.

He said people were brought to the Ivan Goran Kovacic school building for interviews, but he didn’t know whether they were kept there or not.

He said he spent more time at the traffic checkpoint than in the school building. He said that during his visits to the school, “the gym was empty in most cases.”

“Sometimes some people would be there. Civilians. I don’t know who they were. Croats, Muslims or Serbs maybe,” he said.

Hodzic was presented with an earlier statement he made in which he said Serbs, some of whom he knew, were detained in the school gym. Hodzic responded affirmatively.

The trial will continue on March 9.

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