Jezik / Language:
23 June 2016

Trial Opens for Capljina Crimes

BIRN BiH Sarajevo

Former HVO member Edin Sakoc faces charges of sexual abuse and participation in murders in the Capljina area of Bosnia.

The trial of Edin Sakoc, a former member of the Croatian Defence Council, HVO, charged with committing crimes against civilian population in the Capljina area, began with the reading of the indictment and presentation of introductory statements.

The indictment charges Sakoc on two counts with having committed sexual abuse and with having participated in the murder of two Serbs.

According to the charges, on July 9, 1992, Sakoc raped “C.T”, whom he had previously taken away from Misko Djuraskovic’s home in Pocitelj, in the municipality of Capljina.

It is alleged that the following day, Sakoc, who was accompanied by one Boban, came to Djuraskovic’s home again and asked: “Where are they?”

The indictment alleges that Boban then began shooting at Vasilija Ekmecic and Cvijeta Cucak, killing both of them.

“The material evidence implies that the defendant was a member of HVO when the crime was committed. All three injured parties were unarmed civilians who neither offered resistance nor participated in hostile activities,” prosecutor Stanko Blagic said in his introductory statement.

The defence for Sakoc said it would prove that he did not commit any of the crimes he was charged with under the indictment.

Defence attorney Tatjana Savic said witnesses who were present in the house would clarify that the man named as Boban took the lead role.

“Sakoc stood trial in the United States. You will have a chance to see the indictment covering these events. A jury consisting of 12 people rendered a decision that Sakoc did not participate in war crimes, including murders and rape,” Savic noted.

In February, Sakoc was extradited from the US, where he was arrested in 2013, because he had given false data on his participation in the war to US authorities.

As the trial for crimes committed in the Sokolac area continued, a Bosnian state prosecution witness said that defendant Nenad Przulj called out the names of six prisoners from Cavarine village, saying they would be exchanged. They have been missing without trace since.

Izudin Heco said he used to live in the village of Micivode in the municipality of Sokolac until September 22, 1992. As he said, when a neighbouring village was set on fire, he fled to the woods. He and his cousin Elvir decided to go to Sarajevo.

“We arrived to Lapisnica quarry. We entered an abandoned shack and fell asleep. We were surrounded the morning after. They were dressed in camouflage and grey-olive uniforms,” Heco said, adding that this all happened in October.

According to his testimony, he and his cousin were transferred to Pale and then to the police station in Sokolac, where they were examined and held during the night before being transported to the village of Cavarine.

“Elvir was taken to the left and I was taken to the right room. It was dark inside. Somebody pulled my arm, so I would sit down. It was my cousin Fehim Heco. Twenty of us were present in that room. The place was not familiar. I had not been there before,” the witness said.

As he said, on the day when he was brought to Cavarine, he met defendant Nenad Przulj, who was dressed in civilian clothes. He told him his mother had left for Sarajevo.

“I knew him as he was my teacher. He asked me how I got there. ... Also, looking through a hole in the window, I saw him bring food by a civilian vehicle. He did it in the morning and evening,” Heco said.

Heco recalled that Przulj called out the names of six persons in March 1993, saying they were going to be exchanged. “We have no information about them,” the witness said.

The state prosecution has charged Przulj, former commander of a prison in “Petar Kocic” school in Cavarine, near Sokolac, with having participated in detention, beating and disappearance of Bosniaks from Sokolac, as well as other inhumane acts, from May 1992 to March 1993.

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