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11 December 2015
News

Witness Describes Abduction and Execution of Zecovi Civilians

Denis Dzidic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A state prosecution witness testifying at the trial of fourteen former members of Bosnian Serb military and police forces said his neighbours told him his father was killed in the village of Zecovi near Prijedor in the summer of 1992.

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 Rasim Causevic testified at today’s hearing. Causevic said he was 16 years old in June 1992, when Serb forces burned down his house in Zecovi and his father was fired from his job.

According to Causevic, men from Zecovi hid in the woods near the village at night until July 23, 1992. He said during the day he would go to the house of his grandfather and uncle.

“On July 23, I was at my uncle’s house, and father went out to our cattle. We saw soldiers approaching the house and my uncle told them not to shoot. We were forced to go outside and when I told them my age they forced me back inside. Later on I saw my father and eight other men being led away by a soldier whose last name was Zoric and had a birthmark on his cheek. They took the men to the mosque and that was the last I saw them,” Causevic said.

Causevic said a protected witness known as Z8 told him he was with his father and other detained civilians. Causevic said Radovan Grbic told Z8 that he was free to go.

“Radovan saved him. When Z8 went about 20 meters away he heard shots and saw the men fall. That was it...He hid in the river and saw the bodies later,” Causevic said.

Causevic said he left Prijedor, but returned in 1999 and met Radovan Grbic.

“Radovan told me he gave a statement to the prosecutor’s office in Bihac and that he was going to testify against Dusko Zoric, who killed my dad. He said his brother Zeljko Grbic and Bosko Grujicic will also testify,” Causevic said.

During cross-examination, Causevic was asked whether Ilija Zoric was the man he saw leading his father away. Causevic said he couldn’t recognize the defendant and that he didn’t have a birthmark on his face.

Fikreta Hopovac also testified at today’s hearing. She said Serb soldiers came to her home in Zecovi and took her husband and son away in the summer of 1992.

“After three days in hiding we went to my parents’ house to see if they were alive. Near the road I saw the bodies of neighbors. I recognized Suljo and Ismet and near the shop I saw five more bodies,” Hopovac said.

She said her son was freed from the Trnopolje detention camp after several days, and he told her that her husband was killed in the Keraterm detention camp.

The trial resumes on December 18.

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