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1 September 2015
News

Three Bosniak Soldiers Convicted of Trusina Massacre

Amer Jahic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
The state court in Sarajevo convicted three former Bosnian Army soldiers of the killings of Croat civilians and soldiers in 1993 and sentenced them to a total of 37 years in prison.
The court on Tuesday convicted former soldiers Nihad Bojadzic, Nedzad Hodzic and Mensur Memic of involvement in an attack on the village of Trusina near Konjic on April 16, 1993, when 15 Croat civilians and seven Croatian Defence Council fighters were killed and four injured.

Bojadzic was sentenced to 15 years in prison, Nedzad Hodzic to 12 years and Mensur Memic to ten years.

The court concluded that Bojadzic, the deputy commander of the Zulfikar detachment of the Bosnian Army, ordered his soldiers to attack Trusina and told them to leave no one alive.

During the attack, according to the verdict, Bojadzic remained on a nearby hill and did not distinguish military targets from civilian ones.

Six of the Bosnian Croat soldiers who surrendered were killed by a firing squad.

Memic, a former soldier in the Zulfikar unit, was found guilty of taking part in the killings, while his fellow serviceman Hodzic was convicted of lining up the firing squad and then participating in the shooting of the Croat troops.

Memic’s alibi - that as a new member of the unit, he stayed behind in the Igman headquarters of the unit - was rejected because of prosecution witness testimonies, judge Zeljka Marenic said.

According to judge Marenic, the witnesses to the killing of the six Croat soldiers clearly described that Hodzic was one of them soldiers who took part in the shooting.

“No evidence was brought forth to dispute these witness claims,” said Marenic.

Two other defendants, Dzevad Salcin and Senad Hakalovic, were found not guilty because of a lack of evidence.

Salcin, another member of the Zulfikar unit, was cleared of lining up 14 civilians and three soldiers near a house in Trusina, threatening to kill them, and taking their money and belongings.

Judge Marenic said the evidence showed that several soldiers were near the house at the time and that there was nothing to prove without doubt that Salcin took part in any robbery.

The judge also said that the prosecution did not prove that Hakalovic ordered a villager to round up the other Trusina residents. Marenic said witnesses testified differently about this and some witnesses said that Senad Hakalovic was not in Trusina at the time, but his brother Sead Hakalovic was.

This was the longest first-instance trial in the history of the Bosnian court. The arrests began in 2009, and the trial started a year later.

The verdict can be appealed.

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