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20 November 2015
News

Witness Describes Murder of Family Members in Zecovi

Dzana Brkanic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A state prosecution witness testifying at the trial of fourteen former members of Bosnian Serb military and police forces described how her father, brother, nephews and other relatives were killed in the vicinity of Zecovi, near Prijedor.

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.

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. 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 Nermina Alukic testified at today’s hearing. Alukic said she used to live in the hamlet of Redak near Zecovi with her parents, brother and grandfather. She said she saw the local mosque in Zecovi set on fire and heard gunshots on July 23, 1992. Alukic said she went out into the yard with her family, and said they heard screams coming from Fehima Bacic’s house.

“My father told us to go inside the house. He told my brother Amir not to worry and that nobody would harm him, because he was a kid. We were sitting in the house, when we heard noise in front of the house. We were ordered to go outside. When we went out, we had to raise our hands and go to the local road. This included my grandfather, born in 1905,” Alukic said.

Alukic said Ranko Zoric, her schoolmate, was one of the soldiers in front of her house. She said he took her father, brother and some other male neighbours towards the school building.

She said she was hiding with her mother and a few other women in the basement of one of the houses when they heard her father had been killed.

“We went in front of Tahir’s house. We saw Ismet lying on the left hand side and my father on the right side. He was lying on his stomach. There was no blood, nothing. I wrapped his head so it wouldn’t attract flies, as it was hot outside. Fehima told me my brother Amir was in front of the school,” Alukic said.

Alukic said she saw also saw a few bodies in front of the school building, and that her 17 year old brother, Amir Tatarevic, was one of them.

“They were lined up as if they were standing. Amir was almost standing. His legs below his ankles were black. There were holes in his sweater. His back was filled with bullet holes. There was a small hole the size of a corn bean next to his eye. The bullet went out through his temple on the other side...His personal belongings were scattered in front of the local community building,” Alukic said. She said her neighbour found her sons.

She said she buried her brother, father and seven other male relatives in a joint grave with the help of her female neighbours on July 25, 1992. She said that two wounded children arrived at Redak on the same day. She said the children told her that all of the residents of Gradina had been killed.

Alukic said she made inquiries about the day when she lost her family members. She said a neighbour told her he’d been hit by a man nicknamed Grom. She said she had heard of him before. Radomir Stojnic’s defense asked her if she’d mentioned Grom in her previous statements. She said she didn’t remember.

She said she knew Radomir Stojnic as a police officer, as well as Bosko Grujicic (also known as Bozo) and Uros. She said she didn’t see them when Zecovi was attacked.

Also testifying at today’s hearing, Hajrudin Brakic said he fled the hamlet of Brakici in the village of Zecovi on July 23, 1992. He said he was hiding in the woods near the hamlet of Redak, where his parents lived, in the days that followed.

He said he went to Carakovo with women, children, and other men. He said wounded children from Gradina arrived at Redak. He said they took turns carrying them.

Brakic said he was transported to Trnopolje. He said he found his father’s bones in front of the school building in Zecovi in 1997.

The trial will continue on November 27.

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