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16 April 2015

Witnesses Describe Attack on Relay Station by Bosnian Army Forces

Lamija Grebo BIRN BiH Sarajevo

While testifying at the trial of four former members of the Bosnian Army, a witness said he didn’t surrender after an attack on a relay station at Trovrh by Bosnian Serb Army forces, but fled the following evening.

The district prosecution of Eastern Sarajevo has charged Muhamed Adzem, Omer Ugljesa, Senad Halilovic and Suljo Karkelja, former members of the Bosnian Army, with participating in the murder of seven prisoners of war, all of whom were members of the Bosnian Serb Army, on September 17, 1992.

According to the charges, the prisoners of war were captured on August 21, 1992. Afterwards they were detained in the municipal internal affairs secretariat in Gorazde. They were then taken to Ladjeva Stijena in the village of Kopaci, where they were killed.

Njegoslav Neskovic, who testified at the district court of Eastern Sarajevo, said he was in charge of maintenance at the relay station in Trovrh in August 1992. He said the station serviced the entire eastern region of the country. He said the station had inadequate security.

“Those men didn’t ensure the security of the place the way they should have,” Neskovic said. He said some of the guards weren’t even armed.

According to Neskovic’s testimony, during the attack on the relay station, gas bombs were thrown inside the building and the first floor was occupied. A call to surrender was heard, but Neskovic refused to surrender, although others did.

Neskovic said on the night of the attack he and others escaped the building using a cable and ran towards the command building at Sjenokos. He said they met there in order to rescue those left behind at Trovrh.

Neskovic said when they came back, he saw Bosko Lasica , whose hands were tied. He told them not to shoot, after which they withdrew.

“People rumoured that they took them to a police station in Gorazde...They were all gone. The remains of not even a single body has been found,” Neskovic said.

The second prosecution witness, Zoran Stanisic, a former member of the Bosnian Serb Army, said he guarded the relay station at Trovrh during the second half of August 1992. He said they were waiting for a replacement, who couldn’t arrive due to changing division lines.

“On the last day, the place was attacked from all sides...Grenades were falling all over the place. Everything became quiet in the evening,” Stanisic said. He said he fled with others through the roof at night.

Stanisic said they called out to the people trapped on the lower floor, but “none of them dared walk out to the staircase.” He said they told them they “had ammunition and would stay.”

“On the following day, I heard they were captured,” Stanisic said. He said when soldiers went to Trovrh on the following day, he didn’t go because he was wounded.

Stanisic said he heard that Bosnian Army soldiers showed Bosko Lasica to the soldiers that came to rescue him. Lasica allegedly told them that everything was alright, and the rescue team retreated.

Testifying at the same hearing, Hajro Mehic said he was at Trovrh but was wounded on the first day of combat. He said while he was in the hospital he had heard that some “Serb soldiers were captured at the relay location.” He didn’t know how many soldiers, and he didn’t know their names.

The trial will continue on May 7.

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