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13 January 2012
News

Planincic et al: Grave Silence

BIRN BiH Sarajevo
At the trial of four indictees, who are charged with crimes in Kotor-Varos, a Prosecution witness says that he knew all of the 16 people, who were killed in Serdari village, adding that his brother and father were among them.

 Dragisa Serdar, a former member of reserve police forces in Vrbanjci, said that he heard that his village Serdari had been attacked and that some people had been killed.

 "I came across a cousin of mine, who was crying. He told me not to go there, as all of them had been killed," Serdar said, adding that he decided to go to the village after all. He saw his father, who was lying dead on the doorstep, while his brother and sister-in-law had been burnt inside the house.

According to the charges, 16 Serb civilians were killed in Serdari village during an attack conducted on September 17, 1992. Fikret Planincic, Rasim Lisancic and Sead Menzil are on trial for participating in that attack, The indictment alleges that they were members of the Territorial Defence in Kotor-Varos.

Considering the fact that Mirsad Vatrac was charged with that same crime in Serdari village, the Trial Chamber decided to merge his case with the case of Planincic, Lisancic and Menzil.

Serdar said that his mother and younger brother survived by locking themselves inside the bathroom and fighting the fire by pouring water over the door. He said that, once the soldiers had left, his mother and younger brother managed to get out and save themselves.
As he was not able to get close to the burning house, Dragisa Serdar went to his two uncles' house in the vicinity. On his arrival, he saw dead people, including his aunt's children, who were nine and four years old.

"They were lying on top of each other. A huge pool of blood was underneath them," the witness said.

When asked by Izet Bazdarevic, Defence attorney of indictee Rasim Lisancic, if the killed men were engaged in military service and if they had any weapons, the witness said that only his brother was engaged in military service.

"My brother had his gun with him, when he was burnt. The others did not have guns," the witness explained.

Second Prosecution witness Nikola Tomasevic, who worked as an investigative judge with the Military Court in Banja Luka, attended a crime scene investigation conducted on September 17, 1992, following the mentioned event.

"When we got to Serdari village, there was a grave silence and everything was burnt down. We found parts of human remains," Tomasevic said, adding that the Civil Protection Unit transported the corpses to the Dispensary in Kotor-Varos.

Following the crime scene inspection, Tomasevic went to the Dispensary in Kotor-Varos and identified the victims with help from their relatives. He said that no autopsy was conducted.

"No court experts were present in the Dispensary. As the situation was dangerous, the relatives of the killed people wanted to bury them as soon as possible," Tomasevic said, adding that all of the killed people were dressed in civil suits and that they had injuries made by bullets. He said that some younger persons were among them as well.

The trial is due to continue on January 19.

M.B.

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