Jezik / Language:
30 September 2015

Witness Describes Detention and Murder of Serbs in Livno Area

Džana Brkanić BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A state prosecution witness testifying at the trial of Zdenko Andabak, Muamir Jasarevic and Sead Velagic said he heard that his father and other Serbs had been killed in the Livno area in 1992.

Zdenko Andabak, Muamir Jasarevic and Sead Velagic have been charged with the detention, torture and murder of Serb civilians who were detained in the Ivan Goran Kovacic school building in Livno in 1992. The indictment charges them with 29 counts of detention, torture and murder.

Andabak was the commander of military police with the Croatian Defense Council for the operational zone of North-Western Herzegovina. Jasarevic was Andabak’s deputy. Velagic was a member the Croatian Defense Council’s military police in Livno.

They have been charged with participating in a joint criminal enterprise from April to September 1992, with the aim of forcibly and permanently removing the Serb population from the Livno area.

Milutin Crncevic, a former police officer in Livno, testified at today’s hearing. Crncevic said he worked as a police officer in Livno until May 30, 1992, when Drasko Dalic, the head of the police administration, released him from his duties. Crnecivc said he was released from his duties because of his Serb ethnicity.

“Nikola Jovic was released from his duty at the same time. Other Serbs had previously left their jobs at the police,” Crncevic said. Crncevic said he was still working as a police officer when his colleague Drasko Radivojisa was detained.

He said while he was in Livno he heard that his father and other Serbs had been killed in 1992.

“A family friend called my parents to come to her place, because her mother was dying. On the following day I heard my father had been wounded and passed away,” Crncevic. He said his mother heard a gunshot when his father was killed.

Crncevic said he heard that his father had been killed by a military police officer named Ilija Pavic. Crncevic said Pavic was criminally tried for his father’s death, but only a first instance verdict had been handed down. The cantonal court of Livno sentenced sentenced Pavic to three years in prison for war crimes in Livno.

“I asked Zdenko Andabak, the commander of the military police, what had happened. He told me he heard about the case, but he was in Zagreb at the time. At the Pavic Andabak trial he testified as one of the key witnesses. He said he picked up Pavic after he had shot my father and justified the use of firearms,” Crncevic said.

Responding to a question by the defendant, Crncevic denied having ever claimed that his father was killed by Andabak. He said he knew Andabak well and that he was friends with his father, Pavo.

Crncevic said he had been arrested in Livno during 1992 several times. He said he once was abducted from his apartment and detained at the Ivan Goran Kovacic school. He said was detained in locker rooms with approximately 100 other civilians.

“Andabak came on the following day and released some people. He didn’t tell me anything. Since we were supposed to mark the 40 day anniversary of my father’s death on the following day, I asked him to release me as well,” Crncevic said. Crncevic said he was released and sent home.

Bajro Cilic, Andabak’s defense attorney, said that in a statement he had given in July 2012, Crncevic said he was in the locker room with seven or eight other people. Prosecutor Lejla Konjic said this wasn’t true and that the attorney read the statement incorrectly.

“My eyesight is very bad,” Cilic said.

Crncevic denied having had anything to do with weapons in Livno.

“Andabak is playing all sorts of games,” Crncevic said.

“I did hear that some people had weapons and that you had the lists,” Crncevic said.

The trial will continue on October 21.

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