Jezik / Language:
24 August 2015

Mayor Describes Attack on Bosniak Civilians Escaping Teocak

Amer Jahic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

Testifying at the trial of nine former members of Bosnian Serb military and police forces, a state prosecution witness said he survived an attack on a group of Bosniak civilians travelling from Teocak to territory controlled by the Bosnian Army on July 14, 1992.

The defendants in the case are Goran Maksimovic, Ljlilan Mitrovic, Slavko Peric, Mile Vujevic, Vukasin Draskovic, Gojko Stevanovic, Cvjetko Popadic, Rajo Lazarevic and Mico Manojlovic. They’ve been charged with attacking, detaining and escorting 76 Bosniak civilians in the municipality of Zvornik. 67 of them were allegedly killed by the defendants at various locations.

Maksimovic was the commander of the Interventions Unit of the Ugljevik public safety station and Mitrovic was his deputy. Peric was the commander of the Lokanjska Company of the Zvornicka Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army. The other defendants were members of that company.

Tajib Muminovic, the mayor of the municipality of Teocak, was the first state prosecution witness to testify. He said he and approximately 120 other civilians from Teocak were travelling towards the village of Vitinica, which was located in the municipality of Zvornik. Muminovic said the civilians left Teocak because it was surrounded and had poor access to food supplies.

“It happened at night. We were walking towards Vitinica through the woods and alongside brooks,” Muminovic said.

Muminovic said armed civilians escorted them for a part of their journey. According to Muminovic the group was attacked more than once, and after the second attack they decided to separate. Muminovic said he hid in a grove with about 15 other people. Three hours later they headed towards territory controlled by the Bosnian Army.

“Later on I found out approximately 40 people made it through. About 70 members of the convoy got killed,” Muminovic said.

He said he attended an exchange agreed between Bosnian Army and the Bosnian Serb Army in the spring of 1993. He said the bodies of people killed during that journey were in bags.

“I identified those I knew,” Muminovic said. Muminovic said he didn’t know who the perpetrators were.

Responding to questions by the defense, Muminovic said that while he was travelling towards Vitinica, he heard a gunshot and saw a Serb soldier, as well as a rifle and a water canister next to him. Defense attorney Dusko Tomic said the soldier was killed by a guide, who now lives in Teocak.

“That is not known to me,” Muminovic said. He said none of the people accompanying him took the soldier’s rifle.

Tomic said the victims were members of the Bosnian Army when they were killed. Muminovic said he discovered their military status later on.

The trial will continue on August 31.

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