Jezik / Language:
17 September 2015

Witnesses Say Trovrh Captives Were Taken Off Police Premises

Lamija Grebo BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A district prosecution witness testifying at the trial of four former members of the Bosnian Army accused of war crimes in the Gorazde area said he heard about the abuse of prisoners who’d been captured in Trovrh.

The district prosecution in 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 captured 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 held in the building of the municipal secretariat for internal affairs in Gorazde. They were then allegedly taken to Ladjeva Stijena in the village of Kopaci, where they were killed.

Mesud Kumro, former commander of traffic police with the Safety Services Center in Gorazde, testified at today’s hearing.

He said during the summer or the fall of 1992, when he was the duty manager, he received a call from a duty officer, who told him that soldiers had taken the Trovrh prisoners away.

Kumro said he asked whether the soldiers had an order to take the prisoners away. Kumro said the duty officer told him the soldiers hadn’t presented an order of any kind. He said he asked the duty officer to look into the issue, because he didn’t believe people could be taken out of police custody without an order.

Kumro said the duty officer then determined over the phone that a military command said the soldiers could take the prisoners away. Kumro was not able to specify which command gave the order.

Kumro said he knew the Bosnian Army had captured enemy soldiers and had left them on the police premises as per a military order, since there was nowhere else to detain them. He said he heard that the prisoners of war had been killed.

Midhat Sehovic, an inspector with the State Security Service, was the second witness to testify at today’s hearing. He said he was in his village when he heard that Bosnian Serb soldiers had been captured at Trovrh.

He said he heard that the prisoners of war were held in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He said he heard they were given the same meals as the other detainees, and were taken away to an unknown location.

Sehovic said the State Security Service premises were on the second floor of the Public Safety Station in Gorazde, but nobody entered their space in the fall of 1992.

A statement given by deceased witness Samir Dzebo, a former criminal inspector for general crime with the Public Safety Center in Gorazde, was read at this hearing. In his statement, Dzebo said he received findings that the captives from Trovrh had been brought and then taken away. He said he knew one of the captives committed suicide.

According to Dzebo, Safety Services Center didn’t have any particular contacts with the State Security Service. Dzebo said the State Security Service had all the competences.

The trial will continue on October 1.

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