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26 April 2016
News

Former Bosnian Presidency Member’s Trial Hears Murder Claims

Lamija Grebo BIRN BiH Sarajevo

The first witness testified at the trial of Borislav Paravac, a Serb former member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, accused of participating in wartime attacks that killed several hundred Bosniaks and Croats.

The first prosecution witness at the war crimes trial of Paravac and three others at the state court in Sarajevo on Tuesday testified that civilians were murdered during an attack on the village of Sevarlije, near Doboj, in 1992.

Witness Redzo Delic testified that local residents in Sevarlije were given an ultimatum to surrender their weapons on May 7, 1992 at a meeting attended by defendant Milan Savic on behalf of the interior ministry.

Delic said the attack on Sevarlije then began on June 18.

He said the villagers heard explosions, soldiers entered the village and he fled to the woods together with other local residents, but about 15 of them surrendered.

They were first taken to the local health centre and then transferred to a shop, where he said he heard gunshots and screaming, and then saw a soldier kill a man and his son outside the shop.

Delic said four more members of the group that surrendered were killed later on, and that he and another person were ordered to carry the bodies into a stable, which the soldiers then set on fire.

“All of us were beaten with rifle butts… They put the barrel to my temple,” Delic said, adding that they then went to the banks of the river Bosna, where two more men were killed.

After being abused on the riverbank, they were taken to the military barracks in Sevarlije, and on the way, a soldier singled out his cousin Dzemal Hodzic and shot him.

Borislav Paravac, Milan Ninkovic, Andrija Bjelosevic and Milan Savic are on trial for taking part in the killings of several hundred Bosniaks and Croats during attacks by Serb police, military and paramilitary groups in the Doboj and Teslic areas.

According to the prosecution, Paravac was the president of the wartime Crisis Committee in Doboj at the time, while Ninkovic was a member of the committee, Bjelosevic was the police chief in Doboj and Savic was his deputy.

Paravac was the Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency between 2003 and 2005.

The trial will continue on May 24.

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