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Local Justice – Jarak: Hands Tied with Wire

8. September 2011.00:00
Testifying at the trial of Vlatko Jarak, the first Mostar Cantonal Prosecution witness cannot say for sure whether the indictee took her son away in July 1993.

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Habiba Rudic said that soldiers came to her house in Osanici village, near Stolac in July 1993 and took her son Maid to Gabela detention camp, but she did not see who arrested him.  
However, Prosecutor Sabina Beganovic read a statement the witness gave to the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina in September 2009, when she said that she saw who arrested her son, adding that they took him away and guarded him in front of a Vlatko Raguz’ house. Rudic confirmed that “all the things in that statement are true”.  
“I know Vlatko Jarak. I saw that soldier tying Maid’s hands with wire. He did the same to the Avdic brothers – Dzevad and Mujo. He guarded them in front of the house,” Rudic said.  
During the course of cross-examination, Branko Karadaglic, Defence attorney of the indictee, presented the witness with a statement she gave to the State Investigation and Protection Agency in 2006. In that statement she said that she did not see indictee Vlatko Jarak taking her son away.
“So, when your son was taken away, you did not see Vlatko Jarak?” Karadaglic asked. Rudic responded by saying: “I did not see. It is true, that is what I said”.   
The Prosecution charges Jarak, former member of the “Knez Domagoj” First Brigade with the Croatian Defence Council, with having participated in the unlawful detention of Bosniaks from the Stolac area during the course of 1993. According to the charges, Jarak ordered HVO members to tie the hands of three Bosniak civilians using barbed wire and take them to Kostana hospital in Stolac.
The second witness Maid Rudic said that he knew Jarak very well.
“I was hiding in an old house in Osanici. I went out in the early evening. I was accompanied with the Avdic brothers – Dzevad and Mujo. They arrested us on the following day. Vlatko Jarak and two other soldiers came. He tied our hands with barbed wire. Then they forced us to go, while Jarak fired bullets above our heads,” Rudic said, adding that they were transported to the Kostana hospital in Stolac.  
Fatima Pezo testified at this hearing as well. She recognised indictee Jarak in the courtroom. She said that HVO soldiers, among whom was Jarak, forced her and other Bosniak families to leave their houses and took them to the school building in Stolac.
During the course of her testimony witness Zinka Topic said that she remembered the day when Vlatko Jarak came to their house, looking for her husband Zijo.
“I was in the house with my mother-in-law, father-in-law and two children. My husband was hiding.  Jarak, who was armed, searched the whole house. As he did not find my husband, he told my mother-in-law that, unless her son surrendered, he would set our house on fire and kill us on the following day. My mother-in-law hanged herself an hour later,” Zinka Topic said.  
Meho Topic, Zrinka Topic’s father-in-law, was due to testify at this hearing as the last witness. However, as Trial Chamber Chairman Hamo Kebo was not able to establish communication with him, the examination of this witness was discontinued.
The trial of Jarak has been postponed until the Cantonal Court in Mostar determines when the remaining witnesses will be able to testify.


This post is also available in: Bosnian