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18 April 2008
News

Bjelic and Hodzic: Detention of civilians

BIRN BiH
Five Prosecution witnesses speak about the detention of civilians in the Cerska area in 1992.

Murat Siljkovic, Prosecution witness at the trial of Ferid Hodzic, said that the indictee "abetted the setting up of military lines" in Cerska and that he was a commander from May to June 1992.

The State Prosecution considers that Ferid Hodzic was a commander of the Territorial Defence (TO) in Vlasenica municipality from May 1992 to January 26, 1993. In that capacity, he ordered the unlawful deprivation of freedom of Serbian civilians and prisoners of war, members of the Republika Srpska Army (VRS), and their detention in "Stala" ("Stable") building in Rovasi village, in Vlasenica municipality, which was turned into a prison.

"I heard that there was a stable in Rovasi in which four or five Serbian prisoners were held and that Veiz Bjelic was a guard in that prison," said witness Murat Siljkovic.

In November last year the State Prosecution charged Hodzic and Bjelic, who was a guard in the prison, but he admitted guilt in late March. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment.

The Prosecution also examined Ejub Hadzic, who said that the Territorial Defence captured sixteen-year old Dragan Ilic in his village, Nova Kasaba, in Vlasenica municipality. After that he was transferred to Cerska and then to Srebrenica.

"I asked commander Esad Dedic what did they want from him. He responded by saying that Ilic was captured in Alija Suljic's house and that he had a gun, two bombs and bullets with him. If he had not been armed, nobody would have arrested him," Hadzic said, adding that he discovered later on that Dragan Ilic was murdered.

Answering Prosecutor Sanja Jukic's question, the witness denied having ever heard of indictee Hodzic.

Rajko Sekulic appeared as the third witness at this hearing. He said that his brother Branko disappeared on June 30, 1992, "during the conflict between the Muslim and Serbian Territorial Defence forces."

"Rade (son of Miso) Pejic from Zvornik told me that he was captured together with my brother and that the two of them were in Cerska and then in Srebrenica. He told me that my brother was killed in Srebrenica. Andja Pejic, who was also captured, told me that my brother was killed by Alaga Becirevic," Sekulic said.

During cross-examination conducted by Defence attorney Sulejman Imamovic, Sekulic said that nobody told him anything about Ferid Hodzic and that he was only told what Alaga Bajramovic had done.

He further said that he did not want to accuse anybody else but him.

Witness Vidoslav Djokic told the court how his son Jakov was captured in Konjevic polje on May 17, when he was about to complete his military service with the Yugoslav National Army (JNA).

"My wife found out that, after having been captured, our son was transferred from Cerska to Srebrenica. I still have not found his remains and I am asking for compensation," Djokic said.

The Prosecution then examined Rajko Cestic, who said that his cousin Dusan Cestic was captured "when he crossed the division line, while carrying food to soldiers located at the frontlines near Korijen village in Sekovici municipality."

"I heard others saying that Dusan was begging for help from the other side of the frontline," Rajko Cestic said, claiming that Rado Pejic, also known as Miso, who was also detained, knew all the details.

The trial of Ferid Hodzic is due to continue on April 21, 2008.

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