Remembering “Predini vukovi”

16. October 2008.00:00
Seeking to prove the eight counts of the indictment against the former leader of the “Predini vukovi” group, the State Prosecution has examined around 40 witnesses, some of whom survived traumatic experiences in Doboj, including shooting, being used as a human shield, and being subjected to Russian roulette.

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The State Prosecution has completed its presentation of evidence against Predrag Kujundzic, known as Predo, who is charged with crimes committed in the Doboj area in 1992.

The Defence will now examine a large number of witnesses, beginning on October 16.

The indictment states that Kujundzic commanded the “Predini vukovi” (“Predo’s Wolves”) Unit. He is charged with murder, deportation, and physical and mental abuse of Croatian and Bosniak civilians, who were detained in “Percin disko” and other buildings in Doboj.

He was arrested on October 10, 2007 and has been held in custody since then, “due to a possibility that he might try to influence witnesses”.

“We have received an anonymous letter from a group of citizens from Doboj, referring to attempts to intimidate and bribe witnesses. One of the witnesses said that an unknown person had threatened him over the phone, by telling him that he would remember ‘Predini vukovi’ forever,” Prosecutor Bozidarka Dodik said.

For several years Kujundzic was among those suspected of having helped ICTY indictee Radovan Karadzic avoids capture. Because of this he has been banned from traveling to EU countries or the US since 2003.

Mirsad Tokaca, President of the Research and Documentation Center, an NGO from Sarajevo, was among around 40 Prosecution witnesses who spoke about the suffering of people in Doboj. He said that many witnesses mentioned members of “Predini vukovi” as participants in the crimes committed in the Doboj area.

Prosecution witnesses spoke about the taking of men from Bukovacke Civcije village to the “Percin disko” detention camp. The indictment alleges, among other things, that members of “Predini vukovi” took 50 detainees from the camp to Makljenovac village, where they were “used as human shields”. Sixteen of them were killed.

“I found out that my husband had been used as a human shield. He was killed on July 12, 1992,” said Senada Ahmic, while witness Vahida Sehic said that others told her that her husband had been taken away by “some wolves” and he had been killed when he had been used as a human shield.

Fatima Hamidovic said that her husband and son were taken away. She identified the indictee in the courtroom, claiming that he was “responsible for their murder”.

She said that both men were killed when they were used as human shields, adding that a person named Safet Ahmic had told her about this.

“He told me that my son was shot in the head. Then they ordered him to throw his body into the river,” she said.

Protected witness 8, one of the survivors of the human shield operation, recalled what happened that day.

“I do not know for how long it lasted – maybe the whole of eternity and maybe less … I remember my father telling me: ‘My son, pray to God for our survival’,” witness 8 said.

This witness claimed to have survived the worst kinds of abuse during his detention in “Percin disko”, starting with being forced to fight with his cousin to having been brutally beaten up with a chain by “some guy”.

“I do not know how many times he hit me. I just remember the sound of flesh, after having been hit by him,” he recalled.

Witness Edin Memic, a former detainee, remembers what happened on July 19, 1992, claiming to have been “hit by ‘Predini vukovi’ members in ‘Percin disko’ the entire day”.

“They wanted a father and his son, or two brothers to beat each other… They were like animals. They forced us to eat red onion and soap. Later on they formed a ring and ordered brothers to fight with each other. They would bet, on a crate of beer, on who would win. Whoever would win the bet would be allowed to beat two detainees,” Memic said.

Another protected Prosecution witness, a former detainee in “Percin disko”, claimed that the person who was present in the courtroom was not the same Predrag Kujundzic, whom he had seen in the detention camp with his men.

“One day after having been beaten up by soldiers, a man came to the detention camp. He said that his name was P

Erna Mačkić

This post is also available in: Bosnian