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5 February 2016
News

Former Bosnian Serb Fighters Describe Seeing Dead Bodies and Burning Houses During Zecovi Operation

Lamija Grebo BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A state prosecution witness testifying at the trial of fourteen former members of Bosnian Serb military and police formations said he saw people lying in front of several houses during a military operation in the village of Zecovi in the municipality of Prijedor. The witness said he assumed they were dead.

Defendants Dusan Milunic, Radomir Stojnic, Radovan Cetic, Dusko Zoric, Zoran Stojnic, Zeljko Grbic, Ilija Zoric, Zoran Milunic, Bosko Grujicic, Ljubisa Cetic, Rade Grujcic, Uros Grujcic, Zdravko Antonic and Rajko Gnjatovic have been charged with committing acts of murder, torture, sexual violence, as well as destructing and confiscating property from the local residents of Zecovi, a village near Prijedor.

Milunic was the commander of the Rasavacka Company of the Sixth Battalion of the 43rd Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army. Stojnic was the commander of the reserve police station in Rasavci. Radovan Cetic was the president of the Serbian Democratic Party and crisis committee in the village of Rasavci. The other defendants were members of the Bosnian Serb military, police and other formations.

State prosecution witness Bogdan Mrsic said he was a member of reserve police forces in Rasavci in the municipality of Prijedor and participated in the operation in Zecovi in late July 1992.

“We were told there would be an operation, that there was an order to go and search the area in Zecovi...I think the commander or his deputy said that, I’m not sure who,” Mrsic said. He said this was communicated during a meeting a day or two prior to the operation.

He said Radomir Stojnic was the commander of reserve police forces.

Mrsic said he didn’t see anyone during the beginning of the operation, but later on he saw three or four men lying in front of two houses in Zecovi. He said they were probably dead civilians, but he didn’t approach them.

He said he didn’t come across any resistance, nor did he encounter any armed residents or weapons in Zecovi.

Mrsic said that women and children were killed in the hamlet of Gradina, but he didn’t know who the perpetrators were. He said he believed “someone came from some other place and killed them.”

The defense asked Mrsic whether Stojnic said on the morning of the operation that civilians should be taken away from their homes and sent elsewhere. Mrsic said he didn’t hear Stojnic making this statement.

He said he hadn’t heard that Stojnic, who was also a member of the reserve police forces, had committed any crimes, particularly in Zecovi.

Pero Davidovic, a former member of the Rasavacka Company, also testified at today’s hearing. Davidovic said he also participated in the operation in Zecovi during the summer of 1992. He said Dusko Milunic was the commander of his company.

“Dusko Milunic said an operation would be conducted and that we should guard the area between Zecovi and Rasavci,” Davidovic said. He said they were ordered not to do anything on their own in case they came across anyone.

Davidovic said he didn’t see any local residents on the path taken by his group. He also said they didn’t encounter resistance or find any weapons. He confirmed having seen Bosniak houses burning.

The trial will continue on February 12.

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