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29 September 2015
News

Witness Says Marijan Brnjic Abducted Her Daughter in Novi Grad

Dzana Brkanic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A state prosecution witness testifying at the trial of Martin Barukcic, Marijan Brnjic, Pavo Glavas and Ilija Glavas said Marijan Brnjic took her daughter away in Novi Grad.

Martin Barukcic, Marijan Brnjic, Pavo Glavas and Ilija Glavas, have been charged with the rape, assault, intimidation and humiliation of Serb women in Odzak from June to August 1992. The defendants are former members of the 102nd Brigade of the Croatian Defense Council.

State prosecution witness Spasenija Lesic testified at today’s hearing. Lesic said she left her house in Potocanski Lipik in the municipality of Odzak in May 1992. She said she slept in various houses, as well as in agricultural fields and forests. At the beginning of July 1992, she said she slept at Mile Vladic’s house in Novi Grad with her daughter and other Serb women.

“It was Friday evening, July 3. We heard the sound of an engine on the road...They began banging at the door and barged into the house. There were seventeen of us, women and children. Marijan Brnjic and his pal, whom I do not know, entered,” Lesic said.

According to Lesic, Brnjic ordered everyone to line up and take their kerchiefs off their heads. He then poured gasoline on the house. She he set their luggage on fire in a small room.

Brnjic’s defense attorney said that in her previous statements Lesic had said several soldiers entered and that they had poured gasoline on the house. Lesic said she was sick and upset when she gave her statements last year, because she had been evacuated from the floods in Samac.

Lesic said Brnjic pointed a flashlight on the faces of the women and children in the house and singled out her daughter.

“They took her away. I went to the military police premises...When they brought her back, she just kept saying to me, ‘I’m alive, I’m alive, don’t cry.’ She didn’t tell me what had happened to her, but I knew everything. I saw her bloody clothes,” Lesic said.

Lesic said when she returned from the military police, she found the women and children in front of the burning house.

Lesic said she assumed Marijan Brnjic was sitting on the first bench for defendants, but said he “no longer looked like himself.”

Prosecutor Miroslav Janjic proposed that three witnesses be examined as part of the prosecution’s rebuttal to evidence presented by the defense. One of them was a witness who had given no statement as of yet. Janjic said this witness would testify on four counts and in regards to Pavo Glavas’ alibi.

The defense teams objected to this proposal.

“The second proposed witness is Ilija Juric, who is on trial before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has surely been promised something. The third witness, Bozo Matanovic, was sentenced before a lower-instance court for having committed rape,” said Branka Praljak, Pavo Glavas’ defense attorney.

Praljak said according to the court’s decision to terminate her client’s custody measures, the prosecution had the right to present additional evidence in order to disprove the alibi. She said the chamber had already determined that there was no grounded suspicion against her client, since he hadn’t been in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time of his alleged crimes.

The chamber rejected the prosecution’s proposal, and ordered Janjic to submit a proposal for additional evidence in writing.

The trial will continue on October 6.

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