Jezik / Language:
18 April 2008

Radic et al: The First Battalion responsibility zone

A Defence witness speaks about the zone of responsibility of the Fist Bijelo polje HVO Battalion, which was commanded in July 1993, as alleged in the indictment, by Marko Radic.

Karlo Maric, a Defence witness for indictee Marko Radic at the trial for crimes committed in Vojno near Mostar, spoke about the zone of responsibility of the First Bijelo polje Battalion with the Croatian Defence Council (HVO).

"Prior to my detention, which happened on May 10, 1993, the First HVO Battalion was responsible for the area leading from Mostar-Sarajevo highway to Bijelo polje – and it covered about 20 kilometers of airway," Maric said, adding that, at the time, he was commander of the Dreznica Independent Unit, which was associated to the First HVO Battalion at a later stage.

Maric was captured by the Army of BiH. He was taken to Grabovica, where he was held in detention for quite a long time. 

The indictment, filed by the Prosecution of BiH, alleges that Radic was commander of the First Bijelo polje Battalion with the HVO in June 1993, when Bosniak men, women and children were detained in Vojno detention camp near Mostar.

The Prosecution of BiH charges Radic, Dragan Sunjic, Damir Brekalo and Mirko Vracevic with the events at Vojno detention camp, in which detainees were abused, beaten, killed and forced to perform hard labour.

During direct examination, Maric said that, on May 10, 1993, the Army of BiH attacked Grabovica village, when about 22 Croatian civilians were captured and two HVO soldiers were killed. 

Maric was held in detention for nine months and twenty days. After he was released, he took "a short time to recover" and then joined Mate Pavlovic's 81st Home Guard Regiment, which was established after the end of the conflict between the Army of BiH and HVO. 

"I knew Pavlovic from before. He used to visit Grabovica on several occasions and he advised us on issued related to defence, as he was a reserve officer with the former Yugoslav National Army (JNA)," the witness said.
Prior to the start of the trial, Slavko Asceric, attorney for indictee Brekalo, addressed the Trial Chamber, saying that his client felt sore in his legs and head.
"He told me that he had not been taking the walks in the detention unit for a month and a half. His legs are becoming numb and he cannot even walk to the toilet alone," Asceric said, asking that his client be given wheelchairs. He also asked for a neurology and psychiatry examination of his client to be performed.  

Brekalo addressed the Court by saying that he had complained about his problems to the detention unit paramedic a few times already, but he "keeps giving me pills."
The Trial Chamber shall talk to the detention unit medical team prior to making any decisions on the issue.  

The trial is due to continue on April 24.

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