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Apology to Women Raped in Foca

5. April 2013.00:00
At the trial of Radovan Karadzic wartime President of Foca municipal Government Radoijca Mladjenovic apologises to victims of rape committed by Serb forces in that town in 1992.

This post is also available in: Bosnian (Bosnian)

“I honestly and deeply apologise to victims. I sincerely sympathise with them,” Mladjenovic said after the Prosecutors presented him, during the cross-examination, with evidence about mass rapes of Muslim women in several buildings in Foca in the spring and summer of 1992.

Witness Mladjenovic said that there are “no excuses” for “the destructive actions” by groups led by Dragoljub Kunarac, Gojko Jankovic, Pero Elez, Radovan Stankovic and others, who have been sentenced at the Hague and in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the sexual abuse of Muslim women.

“There is no excuse for the actions for which they have been sentenced. I feel sorry because of that,” Mladjenovic said, confirming that they were not punished during the Bosnian war.

When the Prosecutor said that almost every person in Foca knew about the rapes happening in several buildings, where Muslim women were held, and that local police Chief Dragan Gagovic was involved in that, the witness said: “Absolutely not. I would be disappointed if he participated in it”.

Also, he said that Gagovic, who was killed by the international forces when trying to arrest him after the war, actively tried to protect civilians.

Karadzic, former President of Republika Srpska, is charged with the persecution of the Bosniak and Croat population in numerous municipalities, including Foca, genocide in Srebrenica, terror against civilians in Sarajevo and taking UNPOFOR members hostage.

According to Mladjenovic’s testimony, “guards” were deployed in front of the buildings, where Muslim women were held, but “pathological persons were armed” and “it was hard to stand in the way of those violent people”.

He stuck to his statement that the Penal and Correctional Facility in Foca was “a military prison” and that “the Army used to bring” prisoners to the Facility and out of it.

However, the witness did not deny the allegation that the Crisis Committee, whose member he was, appointed Milorad Krnojelac as Manager of the Facility in April 1992. He said that the Facility was “empty” at that time. The Hague Tribunal sentenced Krnojelac to 15 years in prison for crimes committed in the Foca Facility.

After the Prosecutor presented him with evidence, indicating that the crimes committed in the Facility were not isolated incidents, as he was saying, Mladjenovic said:
“I did not get an impression that mass murders were committed in the town, but that those were individual cases… I heard that people were taken from the Facility in order to be exchanged… I cannot confirm whether they were exchanged or not”.

Karadzic, who is representing himself at this trial, presented witness Milorad Skoko to the judges today. Skoko was Director of the Republika Srpska Electricity Distribution Company during the war.

Skoko told the Tribunal that nobody from RS had ever deliberately obstructed the delivery of electricity to Sarajevo and that households in the city had sufficient electricity for their “basic, elementary needs”.

According to the witness, this was not “a disaster”, as claimed by Sarajevo authorities and international media.

Skoko said that the shortage of electricity deliveries from Visegrad hydro-electric power plant was due to interruptions caused by the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The trial is due to continue on Monday, April 8.

Radoša Milutinović

This post is also available in: Bosnian (Bosnian)