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20 May 2008
News

Hodzic: Naser Oric's men

BIRN BiH
Witness Sladjan Ilic says that a surviving prisoner told him that "Naser Oric's men" took the detainees from Rovasi to Srebrenica.
Sladjan Ilic, Prosecution witness at the trial of Ferid Hodzic, former member of the Bosnian Army, spoke about the information on the capture and murder of his brother Dragan Ilic, which he received in 1992.

"After the Bosniaks started returning to their houses, Ejub Hodzic told me that Mehmed Hodzic, known as Mesa, captured my brother and handed him over to the Territorial Defence Staffs, which was situated in Cerska at the time," witness Ilic said. The court police apprehended him to the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, BiH, in order to give a statement.

The State Prosecution considers that indictee Ferid Hodzic was commander of the Territorial Defence (TD) in Vlasenica municipality from May 1992 to January 25, 1993. At the time the TD Staffs was situated in Cerska.

He is charged with having issued an order to unlawfully deprive Serb civilians and prisoners of war of their liberty and to be detained in a room known as "the barn" in Rovasi hamlet, where they were held in inhumane conditions for seven months.

In that prison, TD members allegedly abused the detainees, which made one of them die. The State Prosecution considers that indictee Hodzic, as a superior, failed to undertake an investigation about this case.

A summon was sent to Ilic earlier but he failed to appear in the courtroom, claiming that he did not have enough money to pay for his trip.

In the courtroom he said that his 17-year old brother Dragan was captured "in one of the villages in Vlasenica municipality" in the second half of June 1992. The witness said that Rade Pejic, known as Miso, "a former detainee in Rovasi", told him what had happened to his brother.

"Pejic told me that the detainees, who were held in Rovasi, were not usually abused, but when soldiers came they would beat them up. He said that the "barn" prisoners were taken by Naser Oric's men to Konjevic Polje and then to Srebrenica," Sladjan Ilic recalled.

According to him, survivor Pejic told him that "the detainees were first held in Konjevic Polje, where Oric made some speech," and that "TD commander from Tuzla, Nurif, was killed on that day."

Naser Oric was one of the Bosnian Army commanders based in Srebrenica. After the war he was indicted by the ICTY, on the basis of his command responsibility, for the crimes committed in Srebrenica municipality. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment.

The previous witness said that Nurif Rizvanovic was one of the TD commanders in Vlasenica area.
"Pejic told me that they killed Nurif on that day but they said that he actually stepped on a mine and was killed. He also said that the detainees were transferred to Potocari and then to Srebrenica. He was then exchanged. The remains of my brother and detainee Branko Sekulic were found there later on," Sladjan Ilic said.

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