Jezik / Language:
24 June 2015

Djerahovic Didn’t Participate in Civilian Abuse, Witnesses Say

Dženana Sivac BIRN BiH Zenica

Three defense witnesses testifying in favour of Sedjad Djerahovic said the defendant didn’t participate in the mistreatment and abduction of the Bozic family in Bukovica.

Sedjad Djerahovic, a former member of the Bosnian Army, has been charged along with Jasmin Saric, a former officer, with participating in the physical abuse of civilian Andjelko Bozic and his sons Nedeljko and Veseljko in the village of Bukovica, in the municipality of Zenica, on June 16, 1992. Andjelko Bozic died due to his injuries. His sons were severely wounded.

Defense witness Mirsad Kovac said that in June 1992, as he was walking towards a command building, he saw approximately ten soldiers dressed in what looked like commando uniforms. Kovac said Djerahovic was among them, and the soldiers approached the Bozic family home.

“I saw Andjelko Bozic coming out of the house with his wife and two sons. They spoke to the soldiers and I heard laughter. All of a sudden another group of soldiers dressed in camouflage uniforms arrived. The first group walked away. I asked Sedjad [Djerahovic] if they could give me a lift to town, but I was told it wasn’t allowed and there was no free space,” Kovac said.

Kovac said he heard that Bozic, his sons, and Radoja Maric were escorted to a school building in Tetovo via Banlozi. He said he heard that Andjelko Bozic had been killed in the school and had his body dumped in front of a clinic.

“I found out that my brother, who was a member of the military police, intervened so that Radoja would be released from the school building,” Kovac said.

Selim Softic, the second witness to testify, was a member of the Commando Squad. He said he and Djerahovic belonged the same group of soldiers, who were tasked with searching houses and seizing weapons.

Softic said he didn’t know the local residents of Bukovica, but remembered three men and one woman exiting a house. The woman went back into the house while two soldiers searched it. Nothing was found in that house or in any of the other houses they searched in Bukovica.

“Another group, another unit, appeared. As far as I can remember Djerahovic recognized a man named Dzenan among them. Our commander spoke to their commander and told us to withdraw, because it wasn’t our zone of responsibility, so we did so,” Softic said.

Softic said their other unit was dressed in grey and olive coloured uniforms with caps, and mesh over their faces - except for Djerahovic.

Defense witness Tahir Hrnjic said he was a member of the Twenty-Fiver Unit, which was based in Tetovo. He said while they were searching houses in Bukovica, they came across members of another unit in front of one of the houses. He said he recognized Djerahovic among them immediately, because they used to attend the same school. He said Djerahovic was the only soldier who didn’t have mesh over his face.

“They left five or ten minutes later. Our unit took over,” Hrnjic said. He said they conducted the search in their own clothing, because they didn’t have uniforms.

The trial will continue on July 14.

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