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28 May 2009
News

Bastah et al: Chaos in the Town

BIRN BiH
Two witnesses testifying in Predrag Bastah's defence speak about the activities and responsibilities of active and reserve policemen in Vlasenica in 1992.
Ljuboje Stanisic and Miroslav Mijic, former members of the Public Safety Station, PSS, in Vlasenica, said that, "upon the arrival of the Army in the town" in April 1992, the situation became chaotic, adding that this lasted until the end of 1992.

 
The State Prosecution charges Predrag Bastah, known as Dragan, a former reserve policeman, and Goran Viskovic, known as Vjetar, a former member of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, with the capture, rape and murder of non-Serbs in Vlasenica in 1992 and "actions that contributed to the functioning of a detention camp system" in Susica detention camp and other prisons in Vlasenica.

 
Stanisic, a former police inspector, told the Court that reserve policemen were included in the work of the police station in Vlasenica even before April 1992, "when the disorder" began, adding that reserve policemen helped active policemen in performing their work.

 
"In the very beginning one reserve policeman would be dismissed each day, until the situation became more clear. This happened to inconvenient people. I knew Bastah as a reserve policeman, but I do not know that he captured or mistreated anyone. Had he done that, he would have been dismissed immediately," Stanisic said.

 
He said that all police patrols, which included two or three reserve policemen, were led by an active policeman.

 
"I know that some people were captured, some Muslims, but I do not know who captured them and why," Stanisic said.

 
Answering questions pertaining to Susica detention camp, the witness said that he knew that the detention camp was formed "with the aim of protecting and exchanging Muslims", but that it was under the responsibility of the Army.

 
Miroslav Mijic, the second witness testifying in the first indictee's defence, was deployed at Locvac check-point from April to September 1992. This check-point was located on the road leading out of Vlasenica. His task was to "control the traffic".

 
"During the course of the war there was no difference between young and old, active and reserve policemen. We were just policemen. I do not know who led the patrols or how they were organized. My task was to be at the check-point. After that I would go to my house and take care of my bees. I do not know what happened afterwards," Mijic said.

 
The witness told the Court that he had found out from the media that Bosniaks were deported from Vlasenica, but he did not see anything because he did not stay in the police station.

 
"It was hard for me, because those were people from my town and I could not help them. I kept thinking how it would have been for me if I had been in their place, had I been deported. So, I decided not to become involved in anything. I know that Dragan Bastah was a reserve policeman, but I can assure you that I do not know anything about his work. Nobody complained about him to me," Mijic said.

 
Answering as to whether it was possible that indictee Bastah arrested Bosniaks arbitrarily, Mijic said that "this would depend on a person's personality and you should ask a psychologist".

 
The next hearing is due to take place on June 1, 2009.

 


 


 
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