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20 January 2016
News

Injured Party Arrested for His Own Protection, Says Witness in Bosanska Krupa Case

Albina Sorguc BIRN BiH Sarajevo

Testifying at the trial of three former Bosniak policemen, a state prosecution witness said he helped bring injured party Marko Gakovic to a police station in Bosanska Krupa, where he was supposed to be held under police protection.

Defendants Jadranko Saran, Samir Sabic and Zijad Kadic have been charged with war crimes in Bosanska Krupa, such as detaining Serb and Croat civilians and one prisoner of war, as well as murder and inhumane treatment.

Among other charges, the indictment alleges that Saran issued an order to arrest civilian Marko Gakovic, who managed to flee. After Sabic issued a patrol warrant against Gakovic and sent policemen to find him, he went missing without a trace. Gakovic’s body was exhumed later on.

State prosecution witness Nedzad Komic said he was a crime inspector in Bosanska Krupa in 1995. In late October or early November 1995, Komic said he was sent to the village of Suvaja in order to apprehend a man nicknamed Gak. He found out later on that his man’s name was Marko Gakovic.

Komic said his supervisor Himzo Krupic ordered him to go on a field mission to Suvaja to apprehend him, adding that two more policemen accompanied him.

He said no suspicion of a potential crime existed when they apprehended Gakovic.

“We noticed an elderly man [Gakovic], who was trying to hide...We invited him to approach. When he realized we saw him coming out, he approached us. We told him that there were military movements in the area and that he should be under police protection for his own safety. At first he refused to come, but we persuaded him,” Komic said.

He said the policemen handed Gakovic over to the duty service. Komic said his colleague, inspector Elvir Terzic, told him on the following day that he had interviewed Gakovic and that he had been escorted to police premises in Jasenica, which they casually referred to as the concentration camp.

Komic said he found out later on that policemen searched for Gakovic again, because he had fled from the police in Jasenica.

“Policemen working in that section were on the ground floor of the house, while people who were under their protection were on the first floor. Serbs were brought to that place for their own safety,” Komic said.

Hruste Sedic, a former police officer who issued reports, also testified at today’s hearing. Responding to questions from Saran’s defense, Sedic confirmed that there had been some shooting in the Suvaja area and that he had heard rumours that Gakovic was brought to the police station.

Sedic gave the same answer when defense attorney Fahrija Karkin asked him if he heard that someone had shot at Samir Birdzo’s father.

Responding to a question from the prosecution, Sedic said he assumed that Gakovic was apprehended because of rumours that he had participated in the shooting.

The trial will continue on February 3.

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