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Memic et al: Shooting of Men

16. December 2011.00:00
Testifying at the trial of six former members of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ABiH, a State Prosecution witness says that her husband and a few members of her extended family were killed in Trusina village, Konjic municipality on April 16, 1993.

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Mara Drljo recalled that, on April 16, 1993 members of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina “forced” her and other women and children from Trusina village to go “behind some house” and shot men from the village. The witness said that her husband Franjo was among the killed men.

She said that she did not personally see the shooting, but she did later see the bodies of the killed men. Drljo said that following the shooting of the men, the women carried weapons towards Gostovici village and left Trusina one day later.

“We carried guns to their positions, up there, in the direction of Gostovici. We spent the night at Bosiljka Kreso’s. The following day we were exchanged in Kostajnica,” witness Drljo said.

The witness remembered nicknames of some of the soldiers, who attacked Trusina. “They called each other by nicknames, like Struja and Mrav,” Drljo said.

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina charges the murder of 18 civilians and four members of the Croatian Defence Council, HVO in Trusina village on April 16, 1993 upon Mensur Memic, Dzevad Salcin, known as Struja, Senad Hakalovic, Nedzad Hodzic, Nihad Bojadzic and Zulfikar Alispago.

The indictment alleges that Memic, Salcin and Hodzic, former members of the “Zulfikar” Special Purposes Squad with the Main Command Headquarters of ABiH, and Hakalovic, former member of “Neretvica” 45th Brigade of ABiH, participated in the attack on Trusina and the murder of civilians and prisoners of war.

It further alleges that Bojadzic, the then Deputy Commander of “Zulfikar” Squad, commanded the attack. Indictee Alispago, former Commander of that Squad, is charged with having failed to punish the soldiers, who participated in the shooting.

During the cross-examination, witness Drljo agreed with indictee Salcin, who said that one soldier saved a fourteen-year old boy, whose name was Dragan, by taking him inside a house, where women and children were, when it started raining. The witness said that the soldier stayed with them behind the house, while the men were shot.

“The soldier stayed with you, went into the house with you, stood at the doorstep, gave you a cigarette lighter. (…) I am Struja. Trust me, I did not know what was going to happen,” indictee Salcin said, while the witness agreed with him.

Also, Drljo agreed with Salcin, when he said that the soldier neither harmed nor said anything bad to them. “I needed this. This is what I told the Prosecution,” indictee Salcin said, after having cross-examined the witness.

Witness Drljo recalled having recognised Zaim Hakalovic’s son among the soldiers, who were dressed in black and camouflage uniforms. “I recognised him by his father. I do not know what he was doing. Zaim had three or four sons. I do not know their names,” Drljo said.

The Defence of indictees Hakalovic, Hodzic, Bojadzic and Alispago are due to cross-examine witness Drljo on December 19 this year.A.S.

This post is also available in: Bosnian