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31 August 2009
News

Bastah et al.: Defence witness testimony challenged

BIRN BiH
An additional Prosecution witness contradicts testimony for the Defence of Predrag Bastah concerning the indictee's alibi.
Umija Sabic claims that Predrag Bastah came to her house in Vlasenica on June 2, 1992, adding that he was dressed in police uniform and that he took her neighbour Mujo Klanco away. She said she never saw Klanco again.

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina invited this witness in order to challenge the testimony of Denka Bogosavljevic, who testified for Bastah's Defence in February this year, when she told the court that she had "spent the whole day" on June 2, 1992 "with Bastah and his family at Predrag's daughter's birthday party".

The indictment alleges that Bastah and one more soldier came to one person's house "most probably on June 2, 1992" and ordered the person to get into a vehicle, driving the person to the police station in Vlasenica. It is further alleged that "the person has been missing since then".

The State Prosecution charges Bastah and Goran Viskovic with a number of crimes committed in Vlasenica Municipality during 1992. The Prosecution claims that Viskovic was a member of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, and Bastah was a member of the reserve police forces at that time.

Sabic told the Court that on August 21, 1992 Bastah came again and told all the Bosniaks to leave their houses or else he "will kill every person he finds when he comes back again".

"He came there accompanied by Vojka Celikovic. Using megaphones, they told the Muslims to leave the place... I left my house by bus, which was escorted by Bastah. We stayed overnight in a house, near Pelemis village. They told 15-year old girls to get off the bus. They stayed in that house. I never saw them again. I do not know what happened to them," Sabic said.

Additional Prosecution witness Slobodan Gradinac said that, "as far as I know", there was no "armed resistance by the Muslim population" in Vlasenica.

He told the Court that, during the course of the war, when he was member of the VRS and reserve police forces, he participated in various "operations"
conducted in the vicinity of Vlasenica and battlefields in Trnovo and at Zuc.

"The police consisted of Serbs only. I saw two Muslims at the police station. They were standing in the corridor. One of them had blood stains behind his ear," Gradinac said.

The witness said that Bastah was a member of the reserve police forces, adding that he "was in the outback", which means he procured food, cigarettes and other supplies.

The trial is due to continue on September 10.
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