Witness saw Samardzija escorting captured Bosniaks

8. June 2006.05:36
A prosecution witness saw the accused, Marko Samardzija, taking captured Bosniak men to the elementary school in the village of Biljani.

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Marko Samardzija was among those who took captured Bosniak civilians to the elementary school in the village Biljani, a prosecution witness said on Thursday.

Hatidza Cehic was testifying in the ongoing trial of the former Bosnian Serb soldier who is charged with war crimes committed on the territory of Kljuc municipality in north-western Bosnia and Herzegovina.

She said she was present when Samardzija took Bosniak civilians from the surrounding villages to the school in Biljani.

Cehic told the trial chamber that on July 10, 1992 Serb, soldiers took away her two sons from their house in Biljani and took them to the elementary school.

The women were also forced out of their houses and told to gather in front of the village store, near the school.

“I was standing by the store and I saw Marko Samardzija and other soldiers bring men to the school,” Cehic said.

“They were coming from the village of Brkici. Marko Samardzija was escorting the people to the school,” she added.

“Then he appeared in front of the store with a notebook in his hand and addressed his soldiers.” The witness said she did not know what was written in the book.

The men who were imprisoned in the Biljani school were taken out and killed near the village, according to the indictment. Cehic’s two sons wereamong those killed. Their bodies were found in two mass graves after the war.

The second witness on Thursday, Amira Cehic, testified about the murder of seven members of the Dzaferagic family.

“We were passing by Semso Dzaferagic’s house and I will never forget how many bodies I saw. There werebodies on the road as well,” Amira Cehic said. She added that that night she heard trucks and dredges.

“My neighbours came in the morning and said that there were no more bodies on the road nor in front of Dzaferagic’s house,” the witness said.

The third prosecution witness on Thursday was Smail Dzaferagic who was a police employee in Kljuc in 1995 and took statements from survivors from this village.

“They were all saying that Marko Samardzija was responsible for what happened in Biljani, and that he was the commander of the Sanski Most brigade,” Dzaferagic said.

He said he was soon convinced of those statements when he came into possession of a written document which appeared to confirm the witnesses’statements.

“In the document it stated that the Serb people must not allow themselves to be endangered and that they should respond to all the murders committed against the Serb people throughout history. The document was signed by Marko Samardzija,” Dzaferagic said.

The trial is scheduled to continue on June 12.

This post is also available in: Bosnian