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9 March 2016
News

Victim Describes Alleged Rape in Marijan Brnjic Trial

Srdjan Kureljusic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A state prosecution witness testifying at the Marijan Brnjic trial recognized the defendant in the courtroom and said he raped her in Posavska Mahala in the municipality of Odzak in 1992.

According to the indictment, Brnjic, a former member of the 102nd Brigade of the Croatian Defense Council, raped a Serb woman in Posavska Mahala on the night of June 4 or 5, 1992. He allegedly forcibly took the woman to a location close to the Posavska Mahala bus station and raped her.

Testifying at today’s hearing, Dusanka Stojanovic said members of the Croatian Defense Council stopped her, her family and about 200 local residents of the village of Novi Grad in the municipality of Odzak on their way to Milosevci in May 1992.

She said they detained the men in a school building in Odzak and distributed the women and children in houses in the town. She said they soon received an order that the women and children had to go back to Novi Grad, while the men were to remain in detention.

After returning to Novi Grad with her child, she said she stayed at Mira Bracilovic’s house with other women and their children. She said five uniformed men came to the door on the night of June 4 or 5, 1992, and told them to come out.

“One of them had a flashlight which he directed at the women who were standing on the staircase,” Stojanovic said. She said she recognized Marijan Brnjic when his face was lit by the flashlight.

She said Brnjic selected her and two other women and ordered them to get into a car. She said they were driven to a house in the vicinity of the bus station in Posavska Mahala. Stojanovic said when they entered the house, Brnjic took her into a room.

“He ordered me to take my clothes off. I began doing it, but he then assaulted me and began raping me. I begged him not to touch me,” Stojanovic said.

She said she resisted the entire time, but Brnjic didn’t stop.

“He said he would destroy all of us like that and eventually kill us,” Stojanovic said. She said at that moment she wanted to be killed, rather than raped.

Stojanovic said she managed to save herself, when a man entered the room after the defendant left and told her he wouldn’t harm her. She said the man told her he would stay in the room with her until she could run away.

She said a short time later someone said they should run away from the house. She fled with the other women to a nearby forest and hid there.

“They opened fire at us,” Stojanovic said.

She said when her husband returned from the school in Odzak at the beginning of January 1993, she told him about the rape.

Responding to questions from Brnjic, Stojanovic said she knew him very well. She said she even knew friends he had since elementary school, where she first met him.

Stojanovic’s husband, Zivko Stojanovic, also testified at today’s hearing. He also said he knew the defendant. He recalled the moment he first saw his wife after his return from the school in Odzak, when she told him about the rape.

“She’s never been the same after that,” Stojanovic said.

The trial will continue on March 23.

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