Jezik / Language:
18 November 2013

Wars Pass but People Stay

Mirna Buljugic BIRN BIH Sarajevo
Testifying in his defence about crimes in Prijedor, indictee Dragomir Soldat says that, on the day when crimes were committed in Carakovo village he drove his cousin to a bus station, as she was supposed to travel to Belgrade, adding that “nothing unusual happened in the village” the following day.
“I drove my cousin Milka Papic and her daughter to the bus station for three days in a row, including that specific day. A bus was supposed to leave to Belgrade each of those days but we went back home each time,” the indictee explained.

His cousin left on the fourth day, July 24, 1992. Soldat said that he did not drive her to the station on that day because her wife’s brother went with her.

“I was given an order to go to Zeger bridge in Carakovo village, where we were supposed to set a checkpoint,” Soldat said, explaining that he was Commander of Squad for Guarding the Town and Checkpoints with military police of the First Krajina Corps.

According to Soldat, he did not notice anything unusual in Carakovo that day. As he said, some soldiers had already been at the location, where they were told to set a checkpoint. Soldat said that those soldiers asked them “where they were yesterday, when murders happened”.

According to the charges, on July 23, 1992 men from Carakovo were taken from their houses and shot in front of a local mosque. Besides Soldat, Zoran Babic and Velemir Djuric are on trial for having committed that crime.

Indictee Soldat said that, while visiting houses in the village, he found out that some husbands had been taken away and told women to address policemen at the checkpoint on Zeger bridge, which had been set up in the meantime, in case of any problems.

“During my stay in Carakovo village no disorderly incidents happened,” Soldat said, adding that, in the evening they received an order to go to Modrica in order to guard some people.

According to Soldat’s testimony, he had not known indictees Djuric and Babic until they met in court. When asked if his nickname was Cica, Soldat answered affirmatively, adding that some other soldiers had the same nickname.

Witnesses mentioned the nickname Cica, when they spoke about the shooting of men in front of the mosque.

Testifying at this hearing, protected witness O-2 said that he was a member of the Patriotic League in 1992 and that he participated in the liberation of Prijedor. According to the witness’ testimony, Serb forces attacked all villages in the Prijedor surroundings, including Carakovo, in June or July 1992.

“The strength of the Serb Army broke our units and pushed us away from the surrounding forests,” the witness said, adding that he decided to go through Carakovo village, where he saw the mosque on fire and dead people.

The protected witness said that he did not see indictee Dragomir Soldat on that occassion.

“I was 150 metres away from the mosque. Serb soldiers were there. I heard men’s cries for help. Also, I saw their commander in front of the mosque. He was giving instructions. He was a tall man, unarmed. He had either sunglasses or protective glasses. I claim, under moral and criminal responsibility, that it was not Dragomir Soldat,” witness O-2 said.

The witness said that, later on he was captured and taken to Keraterm detention camp, where Soldat saved his life.

“I am thankful to that man for having prevented a soldier from killing me. I would have been dead, had he not been there,” the witness said.

During indictee Soldat’s testimony Trial Chamber Chairwoman Mira Smajlovic asked him why he helped O-2 in Keraterm. The indictee responded by telling her that there was a saying: “Wars pass but people stay”.

The trial is due to continue on December 2.

Related Articles

comments powered by Disqus