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17 February 2015
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Witnesses Describe Torture and Murder of Bosniak Army Nurse in Veliki Radic

Dzenita Durakovic BIRN BiH Bihac
A witness said he saw former Bosnian Serb fighters abuse and kill a captured member of the Army and Herzegovina. The witness, Veselko Djukic, testified at the trial of Boro Kuburic and Radmila Banjac, who have been indicted on charges related to the torture and murder of Karmen Kremencic, a military nurse.
The cantonal prosecution of Bihac has accused Kuburic and Banjac, former members of the Women’s Front of the Petrovacka Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army, with the torture and inhumane treatment of Kremencic, a member of the Kljucko-Sanska Company of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The nurse was captured by Bosnian Serb Army soldiers in the Radici area of Bosanska Krupa in June 1992.

After her capture, Kremencic was allegedly handed over to members of the Women’s Front of the Petrovacka Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army. The defendants allegedly beat Kremencic with sticks. Banjac is accused of cutting a cross-shaped scar on Kremencic’s back, while Kuburic cut the lower part of her ear. According to the indictment, Kremencic was eventually killed by Veselko Djukic.

Djukic, who was fifteen at the time of Kremencic’s murder, said that he was present when members of the Women’s Front tortured Kremencic in the Veliki Radic area of Bosanska Krupa.

“After VRS soldiers captured her, they handed her over to members of the Women’s Front, who were led by Captain Rada. Under Rada's command, about ten of them, including Kuburic and Banjac, took her [Kremencic] to a valley and began beating and abusing her. They forced her to eat animal feces, to sing Serbian songs, and to dig her own grave. She was totally naked. Bora Kuburic cut her ear, so she started bleeding heavily, while Radmila cut her hair off,” Djukic said.

He said that the abuse lasted about half an hour and that a man named Milan Mitrovic then came and took Kremencic to another valley.

“Since I was a child, I was curious to see what was going to happen next. He [Mitrovic] told her [Kremencic] to dig herself another grave, but she was exhausted, so she didn’t have the strength for that. Then he took a pistol and fired four or five bullets at her,” Djukic said.

During the course of his testimony Djukic denied killing Kremencic.

“When Mitrovic killed her, he turned around, noticed me, and asked me what I was doing. After that he told everybody, ‘Djukic solved the problem.’ At the time I didn’t understand the real meaning of those words, because I was just a child. But see what has come of it,” Djukic said.

Marinko Kerkez, a former member of the engineering unit of the Petrovacka Brigade, also testified for the cantonal prosecution at this hearing. He recalled having seen a captured member of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina in front of the school building in Veliki Radic.

“I thought that she was exchanged, but I saw something was happening in the vicinity of the school the following day. Members of the Women’s Front had formed a circle. She [Kremencic] was inside the circle and they were playing a game, telling each other what to do to her. In the end, she was totally naked and they began abusing her. They hit her with a shovel and sticks. They put thorns between her legs. Captain Rada was the most brutal of all. Defendants Kuburic and Banjac were in that circle. Bora cut her ear, while Rada cut her hair off and made a cross-like cut on her back,” Kerkez said.

According to Kerkez, at the end of the torture, members of the Women’s Front took Kremencic to another valley. He said that Veselko Djukic was with them.

“They forced her to dig a grave for herself. Since she was exhausted, she wasn’t able to do it. Veselko then finished the digging, took a rifle, and shot her. An elderly man and I went to that place to see what to do with her. We saw that she was dead. I put a nylon bag on her head and we buried her. I noticed that they ripped off her golden chain while beating her, so I went back to that place two days later and took the golden chain. I wanted to keep it, since I knew that one day the truth would be revealed. I intended to give the chain to her parents,” Kerkez said.

During cross-examination by the defense, Kerkez was asked why he didn’t try to prevent Kremencic’s abuse. Kerkez said that captain Rada was “a notorious and dangerous woman.”

Ljilja Mrdja, a former member of the Women’s Front, also testified at this hearing. She said that she had heard about the capture and mistreatment of a prisoner of war, but she did not personally witness it.

The trial will continue on February 24.

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