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11 November 2015

Witnesses Describe Capture by Samir Kreso in Bijelo Polje

Emina Dizdarevic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A state prosecution witness testifying at the trial of five former members of the Bosnian Army said that defendant Samir Kreso told him that the Bosnian Army had taken over Bijelo Polje in the municipality of Mostar in June 1993. The witness said Kreso told him and others to hand over their weapons.

Enes Curic, Ibrahim Demirovic, Samir Kreso, Habib Copelj and Mehmed Kaminic have been charged with participating in the unlawful arrest and detention of Croat civilians in the municipality of Mostar from June to December 1993.

The Bosnian state prosecution alleges that at the time Curic was a member of the 49th Mountain Brigade of the Bosnian Army and the manager of a detention facility in a school and other buildings in Potoci, Demirovic was the commander of the 47th Mountain Brigade of the Bosnian Army, Kreso was the head of the medical service with the military unit of the Mountain Brigade (active in the Bijelo Polje area), while Copelj and Kaminic were members of the Bosnian Army.

Demirovic, who was also a member of the 449th Eastern Herzegovina Mountain Brigade of the Bosnian Army, has also been charged with the rape of a woman in Potoci in 1993.

Dario Rajic, a former ambulance driver for the Croatian Defense Council, testified at today’s hearing. He said he was captured in June 1993, and that shooting woke him on the night of June 29 or 30, 1993.

“Someone began calling outside, ‘Doctor, doctor.’ Samir Kreso went out. Some time later he told us, the medical service unit, that the Bosnian Army had attacked Bijelo Polje and we should give our weapons to him. We didn’t know what was going on. The Medical Services premises were surrounded. We went out. They tied us up with shoelaces,” Rajic said. He said Kreso carried a pistol.

Rajic said he and others were taken to Boro Zovko’s house, where they were held for a few hours before being transferred to Mostar.

Responding to questions by the defense and trial chamber, Rajic said he couldn’t remember whether it was Kreso who told him to hand over their weapons. He also said he didn’t remember if he ordered them to leave the building.

“I don’t remember whether Kreso left the medical service premises with us and whether he handed his weapons over to soldiers...We left our weapons in the hallway...I couldn’t hear what Kreso and the soldiers were talking about, when he first went out...I don’t remember what he did when we went out,” he said.

Pero Rajic, a former member of the Croatian Defense Council, also testified at today’s hearing. He said he received an order to go to the military line with Zlatko Maric on June 30, 1993.

“On our way I saw five soldiers in uniforms without any markings on them. I also saw Kreso standing behind them. I knew him. He was holding a pistol. I don’t remember if he was uniformed. One of the soldiers told me we were captured. They took us to Boro Zovko’s house,” Rajic said.

Rajic said his mother told him Kreso had captured his father. Kreso allegedly told his father to leave his house, that he was captured and that “this is Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

The trial will continue on November 18.

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