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2 March 2016
News

Witness Says Civilians in Podvran Could Move Freely

Dzana Brkanic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A state prosecution witness was cross-examined at the trial of three defendants charged with crimes in the Bosanska Krupa area. The witness said he and other policemen found a rifle from the Second World War on property owned by the victim in the case.

Defendants Jadranko Saran, Samir Sabic and Zijad Kadic have been charged with detaining the Serb and Croat population, as well as acts of inhumane treatment and murder in the Bosanska Krupa area.

According to the charges, police chief Jadranko Saran issued an order to arrest civilian Marko Gakovic, who managed to flee. Sabic then issued a patrol warrant against Gakovic and sent policemen to find him. Gakovic then went missing. His body was exhumed later on.

Zijad Dzafic, the former assistant commander of the police station in Bosanska Krupa, continued his testimony at today’s hearing (he began testifying on February 17).

Dzafic said he participated in a search of the terrain aimed at finding a man nicknamed Gak (Marko Gakovic). He said a rifle, specifically a German Mauser, a version of an M-48 gun, was found in a dugout next to his house. He said he didn’t mention the discovery of this rifle earlier, because nobody had asked him about it.

Responding to questions from Saran’s defense attorney, Fahrija Karkin, Dzafic said he couldn’t say with certainty what object Gakovic had with him while fleeing the area.

“To me it looked like a shortened rifle or a stick – I’m not sure,” Dzafic said.

Dzafic said Samir Sabic issued an order to search the area to find Marko Gakovic. He described him as a scrupulous and devoted worker and comrade.

He also said he went to Podvran, where civilians were accommodated, on official business. He said those civilians could move freely.

“They weren’t fenced in. They visited neighbours, went fishing on the Una and went to the local shop,” Dzafic said. He said they could also freely visit a doctor.

Dzafic said that in the beginning the civilians were given food from the police station’s kitchen, but then started receiving food from the Red Cross and UNHCR.

“They went to the territory of Republika Srpska, because they were offered to leave whenever they wanted,” Dzafic said. He said the civilians slept in Podvran. He said they had to sleep somewhere because their houses were uninhabitable and were located on the frontlines.

Dzafic said the civilians were not taken to other locations to perform labour.

The trial will continue on March 23.

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