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20 December 2006

Jankovic: Drama in court

The prosecutor accused a defence witness of rape during cross examination at the trial of Gojko Jankovic.
Milenko Paprica, a member of the unit commanded by Gojko Jankovic during the war, has testified for the defence.

Jankovic is charged with war crimes against civilians on the territory of Foca municipality, including murders, expulsion, abuses and rapes of young women and girls.
Paprica, the indictee's brother-in-law,claims that he volunteered to respond to an announcement broadcasted via HercegNovi radio, Montenegro, at the beginning of April 1992.
All who registered that day received uniforms and weapons in the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) military barracks in Podgorica, from where 25 men were transferred to front lines in Foca.  Radmilo Babic was their commander.
According to Paprica, the following men were also among the volunteers: Jankovic, Mladen Lazarevic, Mica Acimovic,Perko Acimonvic, Ljubomir Acimovic, Ratko Tomovic, Zoran Pavlovic, Dragan Paprica and Damjan Acimovic.  Most of those who were listed have already testified for the defence at this trial or they will testify.
Witness Paprica claims that this reconnaissance platoon in Foca was under the command of Ljubomir Dostic, within the 4th Battalion of Foca Brigade, and that they were sent to Zubovici village when they arrived.
"When we went to the village the first time, we came back in one hour. When we came the second day, the village was abandoned and we did not go to battle. I just saw guard members taking some civilians towards Brod,"Paprica said.
According to the indictment, from Aprilto end of June 1992, Jankovic's unit took part in multiple actions in villages around Foca, during which many civilians were killed and many detained.  Women and girls were among those who were detained and, according to their claims, they were later raped.
"We mostly reconnoitred and watched the frontlines," Paprica said while denying statements that the unit participated in battles.
Prosecutor Philip Alcock asked the witness during cross examination whether he is familiar with the name Ziba Zin.
"This woman identified you as arapist in a testimony in which she describes you in detail and says that you separated her from the group and took her to Brod where you raped her,"the Prosecutor said.
"That is not true.  How does she know my name?" the witness responded.
Another defence witness, Milan Pljevajcic, former member of Dragan Nikolic's detachment which was also part of the 4th Battalion in Foca, claims that he did not hear of Jankovic and his unit during 1992.
The witness said that Hague indictees Janko Janjic (killed during arrest), Dragan Zelenovic (awaiting trial), ZoranVukovic (sentenced to 12 years) and Radomir Kovac (sentenced to 20 years) were in the same detachment.
"Have you ever heard that theyabused girls in Foca?" the prosecutor asked.
"Only after charges were pressed," the witness responded and said that regardless of the verdicts and indictments, he still does not believe that the women in Foca were raped enmasse.
Another defence witness, Zorica Zivanovic, spoke of protected witness 191 who, according to the indictment and her own testimony, was detained while an underage girl and then taken to a house in Trnovaca village, where she was raped. She was claims that she was detained and raped by Dragoljub Kunarac(sentenced to 28 years in The Hague) and Jankovic.
According to witness 191, after being raped for many months, she was saved by a Serb soldier whom she later married.  She left him in 1998 and testified in The Hague a year later.
Witness Zivanovic, cousin of the convicted Kunarac, claims that she socialised with witness 191 while that latter lived in Foca under a Serb first and last name, but never heard anything about Jankovic. However, she did say that she heard about him from witness 186 who was in the same apartment for a while.
"I was in their apartment once andshe said that she is getting ready because her boyfriend was coming.  I asked her who her boyfriend was, and she said 'Gojko'," Zivanovic said and added that she believes that witness 186 was in love with Jankovic.
When asked by the prosecutor whether the age difference between the victim, who was 16 at the time, and the indictee, whowas 52, was strange to her, Zivanovic responded: "Everyone falls in love,sometimes at first sight, sometimes at tenth."
As far as witness 191 was concerned, whowas significantly younger than the soldier with whom she lived, Zivanovic said that she was "younger but much more experienced".
Prosecutor Alcock asked Zivanovic whether she is angry at both girls because her cousin Kunarac was convicted thanks to their testimonies in The Hague and whether she believes that what they had said is true.
"I was surprised.  I don't know if it's true," sheresponded.
The next hearing is scheduled for January 18, 2007, when three former members of Jankovic's unit will appear aswitnesses, as well as his wife Milica Jankovic.
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