Jezik / Language:
15 February 2016

Witnesses Describe Abduction and Killing of Bosniak Civilians from Teocak

Nedim Hasic BIRN BiH Sarajevo
Testifying at the trial of nine former Bosnian Serb fighters charged with war crimes in the Zvornik area, a state prosecution witness described locations where Bosniaks from Teocak were killed after being captured in the village of Gornji Lokanj.
Goran Maksimovic, Ljiljan Mitrovic, Slavko Peric, Mile Vujevic, Vukasin Draskovic, Gojko Stevanovic, Rajo Lazarevic, Cvjetko Popadic and Mico Manojlovic have been charged with crimes committed in the village of Lokanj near Zvornik.

The defendants allegedly attacked a civilian convoy that left Teocak on July 14, 1992. They’ve also been charged with abducting 76 civilians from the convoy, 67 of whom were killed in the village of Lokanj.

Maksimovic was the commander of the Interventions Unit with the public safety station in Ugljevik, while Mitrovic was his deputy. Slavko Peric was the commander of the Lokanjska Company with the Zvornicka Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army. The other defendants were members of that unit.

Dragan Tejic, a former member of the Lokanjska Company, testified at today’s hearing. Tejic said he saw Bosniak captives in front of a local cultural center on July 14, 1992. He said he spoke to some of them and offered them cigarettes and water.

“The group consisted of about ten people. They were on a field, but the group was divided. A woman and two children, as well as a tall blonde man, stood on one side. He told me he was a taxi driver from Godusa and that he was on his way to Austria. They took them to Zvornik later on and released them,” Tejic said.

Tejic said approximately ten captives were guarded by policemen and that some were tied up. He said he asked them who they were and what they were doing in the village. He said they chased him off “brutally, uttering derogatory words.”

Tejic said he found out later on that there were 76 captives, and that two Bosniaks died during combat while the others were killed.

“Everybody knows that. Some were killed and dumped into the Carkovaca pit, while others were killed near the church. Rumours saying policemen did it began circulating on the following day. However, nobody mentioned concrete names. Rumours still say the police committed the murders,” Tejic said. He said he hadn’t heard that any of the defendants had participated in the murders.

Tejic said a simulated shooting of a captive also happened in the village.

“One of the captured Bosniaks was brought under the Manojlovic bridge. He was placed there as if he was going to be shot, but he wasn’t shot at. They were bluffing. I know the man. He is alive. He saved himself,” Tejic said.

State prosecution witness Zoran Manojlovic was the second witness to testify at today’s hearing. His testimony was supplemented by a statement he gave during the investigation phase of the case. Manojlovic confirmed that the captives were killed at the border region between the villages of Lokanj, Kiseljak and Jesenica, as well as in the vicinity of a church. He said he found out about the murders a day or two past July 14, 1992.

While examining both witnesses, the defense asked about the activities of paramilitary formations in the area. Both witnesses confirmed having seen a man named Ljubo, also known as Hejs, who lined up the Lokanjska Company and became its commander later on.

“While the captives were there, Ljubo stood there with Gordana Lazarevic, the late priest’s wife. I didn’t notice they did anything apart from stand in front of the center,” Tejic said.

The defense attorneys alleged that members of the crisis committee in Lokanj controlled the events in the village prior and after the attack on July 14, 1992. They also alleged that some of the members of the crisis committee actively participated in the attack. The witnesses confirmed this and mentioned the names of Stjepan Mitrovic and Mladjen Peric, two former members of the crisis committee.

The trial will continue on February 22.
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