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16 September 2014

First Witnesses at Milutin Babic’s Trial

Dzenita Durakovic BIRN BiH Bihac
The trial of Milutin Babic, who is charged with crimes against prisoners of war committed in the Bosanski Petrovac area in the summer of 1992, has begun before the Bihac Cantonal Court.
Babic is charged with having participated, along with Obrad Ozegovic and Slavko Stricevic, in the abuse and murder of captured members of the Territorial Defence from Sanski Most – Mustafa Cikota, Emsud Smailovic and Sadko Burnic, in Bravsko village, Bosanski Petrovac municipality.

Family members of the killed persons said, testifying at the trial, that they found out, after the war, that their remains were found in Dervis’ pit in the vicinity of Bosanski Petrovac.  
Djulejman Smailovic said that he spoke to his son Emsud the last time in late June 1992, when he told him that he decided to leave Sanski Most with his three friends and head towards Bihac due to a difficult situation in Humici.

“Although I tried to persuade him to leave BiH, he did not want to do it. When we spoke over the phone the last time, he said that he had to leave Humici, because the non-Serb population was being robbed, attacked and abused,” Smajlovic said.
Suljo Burnic, father of killed Sadko, also said that his son did not want to leave BiH.

“When we spoke over the phone for the last time, I proposed to him to leave the country, but he tore up his passport. He told me that he and his friends were going to the free Bihac territory. Also, he told me not to call him anymore, because he would not be at home,” Burnic said.
Adil Cikota, brother of killed Mustafa Cikota, recalled having seen his brother and his friends off.
“They were young soldiers. The Serb police was constantly looking for them in order to mobilize them, so they hid inside houses. They were at my place most of the time. The same thing happened on the day when they headed towards Bihac,” the witness said.

He mentioned that his brother Mustafa Cikota, Emsud Smailovic, Sadik Burnic and Emrah Selman moved towards Bihac at around 2 p.m.  

“Emrah, who was a secretary with the SDA (Part of Democratic Action) returned to Husinmovci in the evening hours. He said that the three others told him to go back, because he had a wife and children and that they continued towards Bravsko.”

Indictee Milutin Babic, who has US citizenship, was located in Serbia and arrested. After that he was extradited to BiH at the beginning of April this year. He has been held in detention in “Luke” prison in Bihac.

The trial is due to continue on September 24.
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