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witnesses-subsequent-findings
9 January 2014
News

Witnesses’ Subsequent Findings

Dzenita Durakovic BIRN BiH Bihac

Testifying at the trial of five indictees, who are charged with crimes in the Bihac and Cazin areas, before the Cantonal Court in Bihac, Prosecution witnesses say that they found out about the mistreatment of prisoners in a bus after the opening of the investigation.

Witness Jasmin Felic said that he did not directly participate in the exchange of prisoners and that he obtained the first concrete findings about the incident after having been apprehended by the State Investigation and Protection Agency, SIPA, in December 2012. 

“I had known nothing until that moment. There were some rumours about mistreatment of prisoners during the exchange, but no concrete things were said. It was just hearsay,” Felic said. 

He said that a patrol sheet had to indicate which policemen were in charge of escorting the prisoners and who the patrol leader was, and contain a report on the course of the exchange itself.  

“If any incidents happened, the patrol sheet must have contained information about them. In that case, I would have reacted. Such a thing should not have happened,” Felic said. Senijad Mesic, former Commander of the Military Police Battalion with the Fifth Corps of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ARBiH, testified at the trial of the five former military policemen of the Fifth Corps of ARBiH, who are charged, before the Cantonal Court in Bihac, with war crimes against prisoners of war.
       
Husein Begic, Safet Kovacevic, Muhamed Anadolac, Abid Ljubijankic and Sabahudin Hafuric, former members of military police with the 5th Corps of the Army of BiH, are on trial for having physically and mentally mistreated more than 30 former members of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, while escorting them from Cazin and Bihac to an exchange location on March 11, 1995. 

Witness Felic, former Commander of the 2nd Police Company, did not identify Abid Ljubijankic and Sabahudin Hafuric on a recording made inside the bus. Their Defence teams claim that the two indictees were at other locations on that day. More precisely, they say that Ljubijankic was trying to evade the obligatory military service, while Hafuric was on a battlefield near Kumarica.

Former Commander of the Military Police Battalion with the 5th Corps of ARBiH Senijad Mesic said that he heard about the happenings related to the exchange following the opening of the investigation in this case, when he was invited by the Prosecution of BiH.  
 
“I am almost sure that there must be a report about the exchange. Had the report registered those things, I would have certainly reacted that same moment and called the perpetrators to responsibility,” Mesic said.

The trial is due to continue on January 17.

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