Jezik / Language:
11 March 2014

Bloody Home Invasion

Dzenita Dzubur BIRN BiH Bihac

Testifying for the Cantonal Prosecution in Bihac, witness Ale Strkunic says that indictees Mladenko Vrtunic and Predrag Bajic, as well as Zeljko Budimir, entered his house in the Kljuc area, killed his wife and mother-in-law and physically abused him on November 21, 1992.

“A time after 11 p.m. on that night I heard rambling and the breaking of glass on the entrance door. Mladenko Vrtunic entered the house, followed by Predrag Bajic. Vrtunic was standing next to me holding a knife, while Bajic approached my wife, pointed a pistol towards her head and said: ‘Why are you still here? Why haven’t you left?’,” Strkunic said.

According to his testimony, Bajic opened the window and invited someone by telling him: “Pal, come in here, we have caught them”. Zeljko Budimir, who had a gun, then entered the houses as well.

“In the meantime Vrtunic began hitting me with the knife. I still have those wounds. They were looking for money and gold. I gave them what I had in my pocket. When my wife saw that I had been stabbed with the knife, she grabbed me by my hand. However, Bajic took her to another room. I fainted due to the beating and wounds,” the witness said.

As he said, when he woke up, he realised that the situation was serious, so he told them that his money was buried in the yard. He dug it out and gave it to Bajic.

“As the night was very dark, I used the opportunity and ran away while they were counting the money. I went to neighbour Pero’s but I did not manage to wake him up, so I went to Saban Kujundzic’s house. They opened the door. When they saw that I was in a bad condition, they called the police. Policeman Tomic arrived soon after and drove me to hospital,” Strkunic said.

His brother Sefik and neighbours Pero and Atif came to pick him up the following morning.

“Atif told me that my wife and mother-in-law were dead,” witness Ale Strkunic said.

The witness said that, as of that night, he no longer slept at his or his brother’s place, but at Serb friends’ houses. He said that those persons helped him go to Banja Luka and later to Croatia.

Predrag Bajic and Mladenko Vrtunic are on trial, along with Nenad Bajic, Sinisa Babic and Slobodan Dragic, with having participated in the murders, rape and inhumane treatment of people in Humici, Vojici and Pudin Han villages near Kljuc.

It is alleged that they committed those crimes in their capacity as members of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, in 1992 and 1993.

Witness Sefik Strkunic said that his neighbour Pero came to his house the morning after his brother had been attacked and told him that his sister-in-law and mother were dead in the house and that Ale was gone.

“Later on we found out that Ale was at a hospital, so we went there to pick him up. In the meantime I organised some people, so we could conduct the funeral. Ale did not dare sleep in my house, as he was afraid that they would attack him again,” witness Sefik Strkunic said.

Witnesses Radenko Kuburic, Dragan Dragic and Nedjo Samardzija said that they heard that their Muslim neighbours had problems, that they were attacked and that money was confiscated from them.

The trial is due to continue on March 18.

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