Jezik / Language:
17 November 2006

Mandic: Witnesses describe attack on Vrace center

Three prosecution witnesses have given statements on the attack on the Vraca Police Training Centre.
Three former employees of the state Ministry of Internal Affairs Police Training Centre have testified for the prosecution in the case against Momcilo Mandic.

All three testified on the first count ofthe indictment which charges Mandic - former deputy minister for internal affairs and later justice minister in Bosnian Serb government – with heading an attack on the Centre located in the Sarajevo settlement Vraca on April 5, 1992. It is stated in the indictment that, after the attack, Mandic physically attacked the Centre employee Dzevad Termiz.

After the April 5 attack, the settlement of  Vraca and the Centre it self came under the control of former Srpska Republika BiH and special police unit of the time.

Meho Masovic, one of the teachers, was at the Centre at the time of the attack, and he was later detained with others and taken to Pale.

Masovic said that in March, centre employees were ordered by director Husein Balic to reinforce security and organise guard shifts. He described the attack on the centre, the detainment of employees and students, but said that he did not see Mandic hit Termiz.

During cross examination, when the witness was asked by the indictee whether he had felt that Mandic had commanded the attack, Masovic said no.

Josip Bilandzija, the second witness,said that he did see the abuse of Dzevad Termiz.

"Mandic was very upset, asking us where his brother was. Then he started hitting Dzevad Termiz with his fists until he fell down," Bilandzija claimed.

According to this witness's statement,the indictee's brother Mladjen Mandic was commander of the Centre and, at the time of the attack, was in one of the buildings that belonged to the complex.

When Serb forces entered the centre, Mladjen Mandic was not among those who came out, but did show up after awhile. Bilandzija says that Mladjen came out of the centre yelling "Momo, don't, I'm here", addressing Momcilo Mandic who then stopped hitting Termiz.

At the time of the attack, Dzafer Hrvat -also a former Centre employee - was in the complex's back yard, where he hid in one building waiting for the attack to end. When the shooting stopped, he and the students who were with him in that building came out with their hands up.

"They took the students to Vraca and lined us up next to a wall near the centre, where they searched us," the witness said.

"I didn't see Momcilo Mandic at all," added Hrvat, who was released with the others after a few days of detention.

The trial will be continued on November 15, 2006.
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