Jezik / Language:
29 May 2015

Cutting Victim’s Neck

Sanela Gakovic BIRN BiH Mostar
The trial of Ivan Zelenika opened before the Mostar Cantonal court with the reading of the charges and testimony of first witnesses.
Zelenika, former member of the Croatian Defence Council, HVO, is charged with having treated Bosniak civilians in an inhumane manner in the period from November 1993 to June 1994.

Witness Almir Lalic said that he was detained in Heliodrom in 1993. He recalled a truck coming and picking up about 50 prisoners and taking them to Santica Street. There, according to Lalic, defendant Ivan Zelenika and a man called Cigic waited.

Lalic said that one time he asked Zelenika to let him go home to get some stuff.

“When I asked, Zelenika went wild, and started cursing. He said I would stay all night”, said Lalic, adding that Zelenika was stationed in his building and had two dogs.

Lalic said that he saw Zelenika one more time in Santica street.

“Zela came by and took me to a bunker. There were two military policemen there and he said: ‘I brought this Balija to slaughter’. One of them replied: ‘Please not here, there will be blood’”, said Lalic.

According to the witness, Zelenika then ordered him to sit on a chair and punched him. “He kept hitting and kicking me with boots all over. Then he took out a knife and cut my throat a bit, beneath my right ear. My blood didn’t rush and he said: “Look, the Balija doesn’t bleed”.

According to the witness, Zelenika then placed him on a chair on the firing station and put a helmet on his head.

“I sat there for five minutes, but the sniper from the other side didn’t react. Then Zelenika told me to go and kicked me”, said Lalic, adding that Zelenika hit him with a rifle butt three more time.

The witness also recalled seeing Ivan Zelenik and Goran Vukoja “beat up” his father, who was bruised all over.

According to the charges, Zelenika came to the apartment of Muhamed Lalic and abused him all over, by hitting him with legs, arms and breaking his ribs.

Witness Ifeta Lalic, Muhamed Lalic’s wife, said that her husband told her that Ivan Zelenika beat him with alcohol bottles, and kicked him in the ribs.

Vildana Tipura said that her father Muhamed Lalic sent her a message via a neighbor that he was held in the old hospital in Mostar and that he needs to be rescued.

Tipura went to the hospital and saw her father bruised and with broken ribs.

Asked if she knew how he was injured, Tipura said her father told her that Ivan Zelenika abused him.

Medical expert Abdulah Kucukalic also gave his expert analysis this hearing and said that defendant Ivan Zelenika does not have a psychological illness, but that he does suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder.

“He is a person with average intellectual abilities. He is capable of attending the trial, but he can get fatigued, so after each 45 minutes a short break should be given”, said Kucukalic.

The trial will resume on June 25.
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