Jezik / Language:
23 December 2013

Duties on Observation Post

Mirna Buljugić BIRN BiH Sarajevo

As the trial for crimes in Prijedor continues, Velemir Djuric’s Defence witness says that the indictee, he and other colleagues could leave an observation post in Benkovac, which was about 20 kilometres away from Prijedor, towards the end of July 1992.

Witness Nikica Kneginic, former member of the Observation and Information Centre, said that he and indictee Djuric were on the observation post in Benkovac.
“The observation post was set up at the beginning of July. We had uniforms and one gun. We were members of the Centre until the end of the month. At the beginning of August we became part of the Light Artillery Division with the Prijedor Brigade,” Kneginic said.
According to the witness’ testimony, they were not allowed to leave the observation post, because they did not have permission from the Command. Responding to a question by Trial Chamber Chairwoman Mira Smajlovic, he specified that they could leave the observation post in late July.
“With the arrival of the Fifth Battalion to that area, we received additional staff on the observation post, so two of us could leave the post on Friday and come back on Monday. Considering the fact that they used to bring us food and that a water cistern brought us water, we could leave with them,” the witness said.  
Besides Djuric, Dragomir Soldat and Zoran Babic are on trial for the shooting of men in front of a mosque in Carakovo village on July 23, 1992.  
Witness Miroslav Matijas told the Court that he was Manager of the Observation and Information Centre and that three or four members were deployed to each of the four or five observation posts.  
The witness said that Velemir Djuric, Mladen Stakic and Nikica Kneginic were deployed to the observation post in Benkovac. He said that they had to be on the observation post all the time and that they had to report to the Centre.
As per a proposal by the Defence teams, a statement given by Smail Beglerbegovic to the State Investigation and Protection Agency, SIPA, in June 2009 was read in the courtroom.
In his statement he said that he remembered the soldiers, who were in Carakovo village, and that, while hiding in a grove, he watched men being taken in front of the local mosque and shot.
As he said, the soldiers, who took the men away and were present in front of the mosque during the shooting itself, were their neighbours from Tukovi village, near Carakovo.
“Mica Jurisic, Drago Tintor, Ranko Jurisic, Milan Radakovic, Dragan Zoric, Boro Jurisic and other neighbours, whose names I do not know, were present,” the witness said.  
He said that he did not know who shot at the men, but he heard somebody saying: “Shoot! Kill!” and saw “all of them fall down after having been hit by bullets”.  
“I saw one man, who tried to run away, but they killed him. Later on I saw smoke, as bodies of the killed men were burning,” the witness said.
The trial is due to continue on January 13, when the Defence of the third indictee will begin examining its witnesses. 

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