Jezik / Language:
1 December 2015

Protected Witness Describes Decapitation of Civilian in Rogatica

Dzana Brkanic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A state prosecution witness testifying at the trial of four former members of the Bosnian Army said he saw defendant Emir Drakovac decapitate a man in the village of Vratsalici in the municipality of Rogatica.

Muhamed Sisic, Emir Drakovac, Aziz Susa and Tarik Sisic have been charged with participating in an attack on a civilian convoy in Kukavice on August 27, 1992. At least 20 Serb civilians were killed and several more were wounded in the attack.

According to the charges, Muhamed Sisic was the commander of the Commando Squad of the Kukavicka Company of the Bosnian Army, while the other defendants were members of that unit.

Drakovac has also been charged with shooting at a civilian in the Rogatica area in November 1992. He then allegedly cut off the civilian’s head and genitals. The indictment alleges that Drakovac killed a soldier and tortured another in the municipality of Foca in late 1992.

A protected witness known as ST-1 testified at today’s hearing. ST-1 said he was wounded in the village of Kukavice in the municipality of Rogatica on July 9, 1992. He said after three weeks of medical treatment in a hospital in Gorazde he returned to his village with his father and neighbour to find food.

ST-1 said they stopped in the village of Brcigovo on the way, where two military companies were located.

“The Command of the Fourth Battalion and the Kukavicka Company were on one side and the Rogaticka Company was on the other. Those military formations were self-organized by people who had fled Kukavice and Rogatica. Those two companies consisted of about 200 or 300 people,” ST-1 said.

ST-1 said he had still hadn’t been engaged in any military formations because of his injuries. He said his brother was a member of the Kukavicka Company, whose leading officers were Rasim Susa and Hajrulah Sisic. ST-1 said there was also a commando squad commanded by Muhamed Sisic. He said the commando squad consisted of Tarik Sisic, Aziz Susa, Emir Drakovac, Salko Alic and others.

ST-1 said Kasim Delic, Rusmir Pavica and a man named Memica were the chief officers of the Rogaticka Company in the area.

ST-1 said his father and his neighbour walked towards Kukavice, which was abandoned. He said he saw approximately 20 bodies on a trunk road.

“There were burnt passenger cars. Corpses all over the place on the asphalt. They were burnt. We left the place quickly,” ST-1 recalled.

He said when he returned he met the Commando Squad of the Kukavicka Company in Brcigovo, which was tasked with setting a mine under a vehicle.

“They told us that on their way back they saw a convoy coming from the direction of Mesici and they had ambushed it. There was a truck and some other vehicles. They said they destroyed several vehicles and killed some people and that they opened fire at the bus. Then they pillaged the vehicles, found gasoline and set them on fire,” ST-1 said.

ST-1 said Tarik Sisic told him “a grandmother threw a bomb which wounded him.” He said Aziz Aganovic showed him a wristwatch which he had taken off a dead man’s hand.

ST-1 said he joined the Kukavicka Company. He said he went to Kukavice with Muhamed Sisic two more times to find food. When he went to Kukavice for the second time, he said he saw the same bodies on the road. He said they were in a stage of decomposition.

He said a battalion was formed during a meeting held in Ustipraca following a Serb attack on Brcigovo. The battalion consisted of the Rogaticka and Kukavicka companies, which participated in joint operations with the aim of “regaining territories in the direction of Rogatica.”

ST-1 said that during one of those operations they came across a man making brandy in the village of Vratsalici.

“Emir Drakovac and another man stood behind him. Somebody shot at the man, but I didn’t see who it was. Then they began drinking the brandy...After that Drakovac cut his head off with an axe. They jointly cut his genitals off and put them in his mouth and then impaled his head on a wooden pole,” ST-1 said.

He said he participated in other operations aimed at conquering Zebina Suma in the municipality of Foca.

Responding to questions from the prosecution, ST-1 said he left Gorazde in 2001 due to threats. He said he received protection from “the Serbian side.” ST-1’s face was distorted as he testified from Belgrade via video link.

The defense teams will examine ST-1 at the next hearing, scheduled for December 15.

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