Jezik / Language:
21 May 2015

Witnesses Describe Transfer of Prisoners at Trial of Four Bosniak Fighters

Emina Dizdarevic BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A witness testifying at the trial of four former Bosnian Army soldiers said he drove prisoners from a silo in Kopaci to the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Gorazde, and left them there.

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

According to the indictment, they were captured on August 21, 1992. They were initially detained in the building of the municipal secretariat for internal affairs in Gorazde. They were then taken to Ladjeva Stijena in the village of Kopaci, where they were killed.

At today’s hearing, witness Hajrudin Begic told the courtroom that he transferred the prisoners to Gorazde.

“Meho Drljevic told me to drive the prisoners to MUP (the Ministry of Internal Affairs)...I drove a small truck. The security guards, who were armed with automatic rifles, and the prisoners were in the cargo area. Drljevic drove in a VW Golf in front of us...We drove them at night,” Begic said.

Begic said security guards took the prisoners into the building and came out some time later. The prisoners remained inside.

“I never heard what happened to those people. I didn’t see them in Kopaci,” Begic said.

Begic said the prisoners were from Trovrh and that one of them hung himself in the silo.

Ibrahim Drljevic also testified at the trial, and said he participated in guarding the prisoners while they were being transported to the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Gorazde.

“I participated in the transfer of those people...We did it for security reasons, because people would come to the silo at night in order to take wheat, so in order to make sure that nothing happened to them, they asked us to transfer them,” he said.

According to Drljevic, the staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs told them they couldn’t take the prisoners.

“We took the prisoners into the corridor of MUP [the Ministry of Internal Affairs]. Braco Bogunic, who was some sort of a commander, came downstairs. He said me he couldn’t accept those people, because they were prisoners of war. I conveyed the message to Meho Drljevic, but he said it was none of his business,” Drljevic said.

He told the court that the prisoners remained sitting in the corridor when they went back to Kopaci.

“We went back and left them at that place,” Drljevic said. He said he didn’t know the defendants and didn’t see them during the war.

Witness Rasim Ducic said he saw the prisoners in the silo.

“I saw them in prison cells. I went with other people to see them. One of them hung himself. I don’t know his name...The man’s body was there for 24 hours. It was there one evening. When I came back on the following day, it was no longer there,” Ducic said.

The next hearing is scheduled for June 16.

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