Jezik / Language:
16 January 2014

Problems with Civilian Population

Selma Ucanbarlic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

Testifying at the trial for crimes in the Hadzici area, a State Prosecution witness says that “Silos” was under the factual jurisdiction of civilian authorities.

Zlatko Petrovic, former Chief of the Legal Service and President of the Commission for Exchange with the First Corps of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ABiH, said that “Silos” was formed by civilian authorities due to problems with the civilian population, who searched for their missing family members from the Hadzici area.

“The disappearance of people from that area is an undisputable fact. The situation was difficult, both for civil and military authorities. Conditionally speaking, the authorities were under the control of the civilian population,” the witness said.

He said that, due to the situation related to the population from that area, any involvement of military organisations could have “caused chaos”. 

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina charges Mustafa Djelilovic, Fadil Covic, Mirsad Sabic, Nezir Kazic, Becir Hujic, Halid Covic, Serif Mesanovic and Nermin Kalember with crimes committed in “Silos” detention camp, “Krupa” military barracks and “9. maj” school building.  

The indictment alleges that Hujic was Manager and Deputy Manager of “Silos” detention camp, just like Halid Covic. Mesanovic was one of the Deputy Managers of “Silos” and Manager of a detention camp in “Krupa” barracks, Kalember was a guard in “Silos” and Kazic was Commander of the 9th Mountain Brigade. The other indictees were members of civil and police authorities.

Witness Petrovic said that, in late 1992 all units of the First Corps were supposed to submit lists of prisoners. 

“I think that I did not receive all the data from those units and that I did not get the data about ‘Silos’. The complete records for ‘Silos’ were received in 1994, I think,” he said.

The witness said that, in his capacity as lawyer, he participated in the drafting of orders related to protection of civilians and prisoners of war, which were then distributed to units.

As he said, in the spring of 1993 he was appointed President of the Exchange Commission.

“Lawyers from Zenica wanted legal procedures to be initiated against some of the prisoners, so the problem would be solved and criminal and legal procedures against those people completed, because some of them possessed weapons,” Petrovic said.

The Trial Chamber decided that the second State Prosecution witness, who was due to testify at this hearing, would be examined next time once he had been assigned a legal counselor.

The trial is due to continue on January 23.

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