Marjanovic: Unlawful Arrest or Execution of Order

11. April 2012.00:00
After more than five months, the trial of Zoran Marjanovic, former member of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS), who is indicted of war crimes in Rogatica in 1992, has been completed. The verdict is due to be announced on 11 April, 2012.

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During the evidence presentation procedure, the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina sought to prove that Zoran Marjanovic participated in unlawful arrest of the Bajic family, and also in the forced disappearance of Nurko Bajic.

During the evidence procedure, the Defence challenged the allegations of the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, emphasising that the indictee Marjanovic was ordered to take the Bajic family to the Command in Borike.

Marjanovic is charged that he, together with several members of the Army of Republika Srpska, on June 19, 1992, unlawfully arrested one Bosniak family in the village of Marina Homora (Rogatica municipality).

According to the indictment, the family was then taken to the village of Borike, where unknown members of the Army of Republika Srpska took the mother and four minor children to the Veljko Vlahovic secondary school in Rogatica and locked them up there, while the father was taken in an unknown direction, and has been missing ever since.

During the trial, the indictee Milosevic is defending himself from freedom.

In order to prove the indictment, the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina brought eight witnesses who spoke about the arrest of the Bajic family and taking away of Nurko Bajic, as well as one psychiatrist as the expert witness, while six witnesses testified in favour of the Defence, including the indictee Marjanovic.

The Meeting with the Indicteee

Witnesses of the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina spoke about how Nurko Bajic, along with his wife and four children went from Zepa to the village of Babljak (Rogatica Municipality) in June 1992.

Ibro Bajic said that he have seen his father Nurko Bajic for the last time in Zepa, when, together with his family, he decided to return to the village of Babljak from which they had previously fled.

Mevlija Bajic, wife of Nurko Bajic, said that on June 19, 1992, together with her husband and four children, she came to the site of Marina Homora, where she saw Zoran Marjanovic whom she knew from before.

“Someone said, ‘Stop’. When we went up a bit, I saw Zoran Marjanovic, and another man”, said Mevlija.

Testifying in his favor, the indictee Marjanovic said that Nurko Bajic and his family went from Zepa to the village of Babljak, while he stood guard with his uncle and grandfather and that he was then approached by the Bajic family.

Milos Marjanovic, witness of the Defence, confirmed that the indictee was on guard when Nurko with his family came from the direction of Zepa, saying that he stood guard along with the indictee and Slavko Marjanovic.

“Let’s go, Zoran, to the front of him. We should not let anyone pass, and not call the Command. He called the Command and reported that Nurko come with his wife and children. They ordered him to take them to Borike”, said Milos Marjanovic, retelling what Slavko Marjanovic said and done.

Nenad Marjanovic, testifying in favour of the indictee, said that he saw Marjanovic talking to the Bajic family when a white car arrived from the direction of Borike, in which they got in together.

During his testimony, Marjanovic confirmed that he was in the vehicle in which the family Bajic family was transported to the Command in Borike.

“They put us in a white VW Golf, and they did not tell us where we were going”, said Mevlija Bajic, adding that she, together with her family, was then driven to the church in Borike.

Taking Away of the Father

Suad Bajic also testified regarding taking the away of the Bajic family to Borike, saying that the indictee Marjanovic and another soldier drove him and his family to Borike.

“Zoran and my father came out of the car. I saw how Zoran took him towards two soldiers”, said Suad Bajic, adding that it was the last time that he saw his father.

As he said, Ismet Bajic, who was then three and a half years old, also saw the taking away of his father. He said that he remembers that the two soldiers took his father.

“I cried, and one of the soldiers told me that nothing bad will happen to my father. We did not see father Nurko again. (…) I will never forget the picture of the taking away of my father. I would like to know where his bones are, so that I can visit his grave”, said Ismet Bajic.

During his testimony, Marjanovic said that he handed over Nurko to two soldiers who took him into the building in which the Command was located, after which he went to the warehouse for food.

“I went into warehouse for food, and after returning I saw how women and children were getting into the medical car. I soon learned that they were taken to Rogatica”, said the indictee Marjanovic.

Radomir Vucak, witness of the Defence, emphasised that he had seen the two men take Nurko in Borike and then take him to the Command.

“When they took Nurko, Marjanovic walked with them ten metres”, said Vucak, adding that after this Marjanovic went to the warehouse for cigarettes.

Milivoje Motika, testifying in favour of the indictee, confirmed that Marjanovic was in the warehouse.

“I’m sorry for everything, but what happened later, I do not know nor I could imagine”, said the indictee Marjanovic.

Milos Marjanovic, witness of the Defence, said that after a half hour the indictee came back to the place where he earlier stood guard with a witness, saying to the witness that he took Nurko Bajic to the Command.

Suad Bajic, witness of the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that he was taken along with his mother, two brothers and sister to school in Rogatica, where he spent seven days, after which they were transported to the area of Olovo, which was under control of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ABiH).

Four witnesses of the Prosecution said that they subsequently found out that Nurko was separated from his wife and children in Borike in June 1992.

“Bride Mevlija told me that my brother, she and the children were stopped at the guard post in the village of Babljak. She said that Zoran Marjanovic was there. She said that Marjanovic took them to Borike and that they were separated there. Since they separated them, we do not know anything about him”, said Mustafa Bajic.

Ibro Bajic, who testified as witness of the Defence, said that he once went to the village of Babljak and that he saw Marjanovic.

“I saw Zoran. He did not say anything, he only waved with his hand, which I understand as to run away”, Ibro said.

During the presentation of closing arguments, prosecutor Dzevad Muratbegovic said that the indictee willfully participated in the unlawful detention of the Bajic family, and asked the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina to impose the sentence to Marjanovic.

“The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina believes that it is proven that the indictee, knowing about the attack on the civilian non-Serb population in the Visegrad area, consciously acted in accordance with such an attack. He, as a member of the Serb forces, knew about the attack and willingly participated in the unlawful detention of the Bajic family”, said Muratbegovic.

In its closing arguments, the Defence emphasised that the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina failed to prove “that Marjanovic had knowledge and awareness about the attack”, requesting from the Trial Chamber to impose the acquittal of the indictee.

Selma Ucanbarlic is BIRN – Justice Report’s journalist. [email protected] Justice Report is BIRN’s online weekly publication.

This post is also available in: Bosnian