Jezik / Language:
27 March 2015

Ivan Krndelj Squad Did not Arrest Civilians, Say Defense Witnesses

Marija Taušan BIRN BiH Sarajevo

Defense witnesses testifying before the cantonal court in Sarajevo, said that the Ivan Krndelj Squad commanded by Mario Frimel didn’t arrest civilians in the neighbourhood of Hrasno in Sarajevo.

The cantonal prosecution of Sarajevo has charged Mario Frimel, the former commander of the Ivan Krndelj Squad of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the unlawful arrest, physical abuse, and mental abuse of Serbs in the neighbourhood of Hrasno in Sarajevo in October 1992.

At today’s hearing, former members of the Ivan Krndelj Squad testified in Frimel’s defense.

“If such things happened, we weren’t involved in them...I know what the mindset of our command staff was,” said witness Zijad Budimlic. He said half of the members of the Ivan Krndelj Squad belonged to different ethnic groups.

Budimlic said that military police were stationed in the same building as the Ivan Krndelj Squad, and that the squad couldn’t issue orders to the police.

“There were other units as well...once they wanted to take some people away from the square, but didn’t let them do it. We were even ready to exchange fire with them over that,” Budimlic said.

Defense attorney Midhat Koco questioned Budimlic about an operation called “The Eleven Blue Ones,” which took place on October 5-7, 1992. The operation involved the burning of residential buildings and institutions. Budimlic said that the defendant and the other members of the Squad were in their headquarters when the operation took place.

Nusret Muhovic, also a former member of the Ivan Krndelj Squad, said they were inside the command building while the buildings in the square were burning.

“Our unit did not arrest or examine civilians. It was one of the few multi-ethnic units. The ethnic affiliation of headquarters staff was diverse,” Muhovic said.

Prosecutor Nedzad Corovic asked Budimlic and Muhovic whether they knew the Serbs who were abused during the operations that took place in October 1992 operations. Both witnesses responded negatively.

“I don’t know those people. I don’t know that it happened,” Muhovic said.

The trial will continue on April 22.

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