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9 June 2015
News

Witnesses Describe Murder of Civilians in Karacici Barn

Dzana Brkanic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A state prosecution witness testifying at the trial of eight former members of the Bosnian Serb Army said Mile Kusic shot 20 civilians who were held in a barn in the village of Karacici in the municipality of Rogatica in 1992.

Former Bosnian Serb soldiers Radomir Markovic, Mile Kusic, Dragan Bozovic, Sasa Perkovic, Radomir Gluhovic, Pero Radovic Ilija Vukasinovic and Milos Vukasinovic have been charged with searching and pillaging houses in the villages of Karacici, Vragolovi and Golubovici on September 18, 1992.

During the search of Karacici, the defendants allegedly found 20 Bosniak civilians hiding in a garage. According to the indictment, the defendants beat the civilians with rifle butts and then pushed them into a nearby barn, where they were killed. The shooting caused a fire which burned the bodies, the indictment alleges. The prosecution claims the defendants acted in collaboration with other unidentified perpetrators.

According to the charges, at the time Markovic was the commander of the Socicka Company of the Rogaticka Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army, while the other defendants were members of that unit.

A protected witness known as MR-2, told the trial chamber that Mile Kusic and Sasa Perkovic ordered him and his brother, protected witness MR-1, to participate in a military operation with them in 1992. Both brothers were Bosnian Serb fighters.

MR-2 said defendants Milos Vukasinovic, Ilija Vukasinovic, Radomir Gluhovic, Dragan Bozovic and Radomir Markovic, who commanded the company, joined Kusic and Perkovic in the operation.

MR-2 said when they arrived to the village of Karacici, they found Bosniak civilians, primarily elderly, in the first house they searched.

MR-2 said he and his brother were in a nearby grove and watched as soldiers broke down the door of a garage where civilians were hiding. He said he watched soldiers push the civilians with rifles and rifle butts towards a barn.

“They killed them. Mile Kusic shot at them from a distance of one meter. He was standing at the barn door. I can’t remember whether anybody else was shooting,” MR-2 said.

He said that the barn began burning a few minutes later, most probably because of the flammable bullets Kusic used.

MR-2’s brother, MR-1, said he was a member of the Socicka Company of the Bosnian Serb Army. He said he joined the unit because Mile Kusic and Sasa Perkovic said he had to serve the unit or leave the area.

MR-1 said he participated in a terrain cleaning operation that covered an area spanning the village of Vragolovi to that of Karacici. His brother MR-2 was with him. He said they didn’t have uniforms, but were armed.

According to MR-1, some women and children were among the civilians found in the garage in Karacici.

“Mile [Kusic] stood at the door. I heard brief bursts of gunfire. I moved off a few more steps...Fifteen minutes later the barn began burning,” MR-1 said.

MR-1 and MR-2 drew the positions from which they observed the barn on a map. The witnesses marked different locations.

The public was excluded from this hearing for a brief period of time while the trial chamber considered an objection on the part of the defense. The defense claimed that the prosecution had switched the identities and minutes of MR-1 and MR-2.

The trial will continue on July 7.
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