Jezik / Language:
25 May 2012

Memic et al: Even if Absent, Commander is Responsible

Testifying at the trial for crimes in Trusina, witness Jovan Divjak explains that a commander is responsible for subordinate soldiers, even if he is absent from his unit for “an undetermined” period of time.
Indictee Zulfikar Alispago, known as Zuka, presented Divjak with several documents, including, among others, a few decisions issued by the Igman Operational Group and Main Command Headquarters of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ABiH. The documents say that, after the crimes in Trusina, Alispago was appointed Deputy Commander of that Operational Group.

Divjak, retired ABiH general, who was examined as military expert at this trial, said that he had never seen those documents, but he agreed with the indictee that, in extraordinary circumstances it was possible to issue a verbal order, followed by a written one.

Alispago wanted to know if a unit commander continued to have responsibilities in his unit in case he was absent for an undetermined period of time.

“He bears certain responsibilities for as long as he is the commander and no matter where he is,: Divjak said. He began testifying on May 18.

Alispago, former Commander of “Zulfikar” Special Purposes Squad with the Main Command Headquarters of ABiH, is charged with having failed to punish his subordinates, who participated in the murders in Trusina village on April 16, 1993. 

Besides him, Mensur Memic, Dzevad Salcin, Senad Hakalovic, Nedzad Hodzic and Nihad Bojadzic are on trial for the attack on Trusina village, where 18 civilians and four members of the Croatian Defence Council, HVO were killed. 

According to the charges, Alispago's Deputy Bojadzic commanded the attack. The indictment alleges that Memic, Salcin and Hodzic were members of “Zulfikar” Squad, while Hakalovic was member of the 45th Mountain Brigade of ABiH.

Prior to the examination of Divjak, Prosecutor Vesna Budimir informed the Trial Chamber that Seljahudin Zukorlic, known as Seljo, was among the audience. At the hearing held on May 18 it was said that Zukorlic contacted Divjak prior to his testimony.

“Seljo did not visit me in order to change my testimony. He just said that Zuka was a good man,” Divjak said, responding to questions by indictee Alispago.

After Alispago's Defence confirmed that Zukorlic would be invited to testify for the Defence, the Trial Chamber said that he had to leave the courtroom. According to the law, a person, following the trial as audience, cannot appear as witness at that trial.

The examination of Divjak will be completed at a later stage. The trial is due to continue on Friday, June 1, when a new Prosecution witness will be examined.  

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