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8 June 2009
News

Bastah et al: Invitation to Talks

BIRN BiH
A Defence witness says that he did not know that Bosniaks were taken to the Police Station in Vlasenica during the course of 1992.
Sinisa Miljanic, a former reserve policeman with the Public Safety Station in Vlasenica, said that he did not know that "certain individuals" were invited to talks at the Police Station in Vlasenica in 1992, adding that "there were no common arrests of people".

"I knew Bastah as he was a reserve policeman. Most of the time he worked as a driver, because he was older than us and he could take good care of the vehicles. I never heard anybody complaining about him, despite the fact that citizens had an opportunity to complain in case of any problems with reserve policemen. Reserve policemen could be dismissed if they committed an offence or acted willfully," said Miljanic, testifying for the first indictee's Defence.

The State Prosecution charges Predrag Bastah, also known as Car, as a member of the reserve police forces, with having participated, together with Goran Viskovic, known as Vjetar, a former member of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, in capturing, detaining, deporting and killing Bosniaks in Vlasenica in the course of 1992.

Miljanic told the Court that the war in Vlasenica broke out "some time in 1992", when "some unidentified army" occupied the town.

"Among those soldiers there were men dressed in old army uniforms, but the majority were dressed in new camouflage uniforms. The army had transporters as well. I can remember seeing those. The situation in the town was totally chaotic in those days. Many people arrived in the town and many had left it," Miljanic said.

He said that after the army had come to the town, members of the Public Safety Station in Vlasenica were disarmed "by unknown people". He said that it continued working a few days later.

"In those days reserve policemen would come and go all the time. It happened once that a man received a uniform and had to return it on the same day. Later, the Station functioned as per a set schedule. Policemen did what they were told to do. One could be deployed to the front line, a checkpoint or a patrol. As far as individual initiative was concerned, I could not do it. I could not go anywhere unless I was ordered to do it," Miljanic said.

When asked whether he noticed any Bosniaks being brought to the Public Safety Station in Vlasenica, the witness said that "certain individuals were invited to talks concerning illegal weapons", but there were no common arrests of people. 

"I personally did not see anyone in there. As far as capturing minors is concerned, I am not aware of it, but the service regulations say that those people could not have been arrested in the absence of their parents or guardians," Miljanic said.

The indictment alleges that on June 2, 1992 Bastah grabbed a minor by his hair and took him from his house to the police station in Vlasenica. In the police station corridor he allegedly started hitting him "severely" with the butt of his gun "on his chest".

The next hearing is due to take place on Thursday, June 11.

 
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