Jankovic: Rape victimes’ stories heard in court

28. September 2006.05:59
The prosecution closes its case with the reading of statements from two witnesses who claim the indictee personally raped them in 1992.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Written statements from two protected witnesses who did not want to testify in person have been read out in court during the trial of Gojko Jankovic.

The statements, which were initially given to investigators from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, were the final pieces of evidence presented during the prosecution stage of the trial.

Both witnesses, known only under codes 105 and 186, claim in their statements that Jankovic personally raped them.

According to the indictment and her own statement, witness 186 was Jankovic’s personal sex slave for six months. At the time of the first alleged rape, she was 12 years old.

Witness 186 said, “I knew that he had a wife and three children. One of his daughters was one year younger than me. I asked him how he could rape someone who is the same age as his daughter.That made him very angry. I was afraid to insist on an answer.”

She and members of her family were detained in May 1992 on the territory of municipality Gacko. After being detained for ten days in the facilities of the Ulog village elementary school, she and another 200 civilians, mostly women, were taken to the school in the village of Kalinovik.

“On August 10 Dragoljub”Zaga” Kunarac [author’s note: sentenced at the ICTY to 28 years of prison] came to the school. He kicked meand took me outside. They took eight girls… I think that one of them was pregnant. When we were getting onto the truck, someone said ‘Here are your chickens!’,” witness 186 told the ICTY investigators.

The eight girls were distributed in a few camps for women, while 186 and two other girls were taken to a house in Trnovace village, where she claims Jankovic picked her for himself.

She claims that he raped her that same night and that he told her that only he would had the right to rape her in her next six months of detention.

“I don’t want to talk about details of the rapes. Only that he raped me and made sure that I didn’t get pregnant,” 186 said.

Jankovic visited her on a regular basis during her detention, and she knew that once a month he went to visit his family in Montenegro. After his family returned to Foca, he did not come any more until the day when witness 186 was exchanged.

“They took us to Pale and we had to say there whether we want to be exchanged. I said yes. Then they took me to[former Bosnian Serb Assembly president] Momcilo Krajisnik. I recognised him from TV. He also asked me whether I want to be exchanged and I repeated that I did. He took me to the Sarajevo airport where he had some sort of a meeting with Haris Silajdzic. There UNPROFOR took over,” the witness told the investigators in Hague.

The prosecution also read two statements of witness 105, one given in The Hague in 1996, the other one given this year in Sarajevo. This witness also refused to appear in court “for reasons of personal security and [that] of my children”.

In the statement given in 1996 she said that she was detained on July 3, jointly with other towns people of Mjesaje village. After their detention, the women and children were separated from the men, and then taken to the territory of Buk Bijela hydroelectric power plant.

Witness 105 was questioned in Buk Bijela,after which she was taken to a detention camp in the Foca high school centre,and then to the Partizan sports hall.

“Soldiers came during the night and took women. We did not turn the lights on so that we could hide. But they did and they pointed at women and took them. Jankovic did not point, instead he called the names of those he took,” witness 105 said.

She claims that she was raped on multiple occasions, of which a few were gang rapes, and that the most difficult time was the last ten days of detention in Partizan sports hall when she was raped every night.

Jankovic, she claimed, raped her only once.

“He brought me to that house and ordered me to shower first. He joined me in the bathroom. Then he took me to bed. The soldiers returned me to the sportshall in the morning,” said 105, who spent four months in detention.

She was exchanged and taken to Novi Pazar, Serbia, after which she left the former Yugoslavia.

The prosecution phase of the trial is now over. During the next hearing, which is scheduled for October 18, the defence will call its first seven witnesses.

It was also announced today that defence attorney Milan Trbojevic asked that a few witnesses, Jankovic’s former soldiers, be allowed “free passage” to and from the Bosnian court –in other words, a guarantee that they will not be arrested because of what they will say as witnesses. The prosecution did not object to this request.

This post is also available in: Bosnian