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6 July 2007
News

Lucic: Indictee Testifies

BIRN BiH
Kreso Lucic denies his role in taking away, interrogating and torturing of Bosniaks from Kresevo - but he does not deny that such things were happening.
Testifying in his own defence, Kreso Lucic has once again denied all the allegations in the indictment against him.

He is charged to have taken part, as a commander of the Military Police of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) during the conflict with the Army of BiH in Kresevo in 1993, in the illegal capture, detention, interrogation and torture of civilians.

"The HVO military police in Kresevo, whose commander I was, did not guard the elementary school but it assisted, as per orders given by the HQ of the 3rd Battalion in Kresevo and its Security Service, in the arrest of men capable of military service and it sometimes took them to the front lines where they had to dig trenches," Lucic said.

His examination has marked the end of the Defence's evidence process.

The witness has explained that men capable of military service were those of 17 or 18 to 65 years of age.

According to the indictment filed by the prosecution of  BiH, during June and July 1993 Lucic gave an order, as a commander of the military police, that all Bosniak men from Kresevo and the surrounding villages be detained in the elementary school premises and Sunje hangar. From there, they were taken away to perform forced works.

Lucic has denied the allegation in the indictment which charges him to have tortured - together with his subordinate policeman Meho Hodzic - detainees in Sunje camp, or any other civilian.

Speaking of Hodzic, who testified as a prosecution witness, Lucic has said that he "does not see why [Hodzic] accused [me] of that".

"As the commander of the HVO military police I spent most of the time on the front line. In the first month I rarely visited the police premises in Elektroprivreda building, maybe three or four times only," Lucic has said.

According to the indictment and statements given by witnesses, civilians were taken away to and maltreated in the Elektroprivreda premises, which were used as the police HQ.

Lucic has said that Bosniak civilians were taken to the elementary school in Kresevo and Sunje hangar "for security reasons".

Pietro Spera, a member of the Trial Chamber, has asked the indictee to explain "what does it mean to take people to a detention camp for security reasons". The indictee has clarified that persons living close to the front line were captured.

"Do you know that the people detained in the school and Sunje hangar were taken to the front line where some of them died?" Spera asked the indictee.

Lucic responded that he had heard of such situations but that he "knows that some of them went to their houses to take a bath".

Prosecutor Slavica Terzic asked Lucic, during cross-examination, if the military police members used to disarm Bosniaks. He has confirmed and added that the order for these actions was given by the "Wartime Presidency of Kresevo, whose members were Croats and Bosniaks."

As Lucic has denied being responsible for Sunje detention camp, Terzic has presented to him a document, with his signature, allowing a "release and home isolation" of one detainee.

Lucic has said that this was a "formality", claiming that his responsibility in this case is "none".

The trial continues on 10 July, when the Prosecution will examine two additional witnesses.
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