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Witnesses Recall Bosnian Village Killings

10. May 2013.00:00
As the trial for crimes in Prijedor continues, a Bosnian State Prosecution witness says that defendant Zoran Babic must have been present during the "cleansing" of Carakovo village in July 1992.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Witness Zoran Coric said he was a member of the First Interventions Squad of Prijedor Police in 1992, and that the Squad was present in Carakovo village in July 1992.
“I was on a transporter on the main road just outside the village, next to Zico’s café,” Coric explained.

Asked by the Trial Chamber chair, Mira Smajlovic, what he was doing there, the witness said that the First Interventions Squad received an order to cleanse the area.
“I think that Babic must have been with us somewhere,” Coric said, adding that Babic was also a member of the First Interventions Squad.
Zoran Babic and Velemir Djuric, allegedly accompanied by other persons, are charged with having taken male residents from their homes in Carakovo on July 23, 1992, as per an order by Dragomir Soldat.

They then took the men in front of the local mosque and shot them, the indictment says, after which some of the men who survived the shooting died.

This was because Djuric and Babic then set the mosque on fire, after which burning parts of the building collapsed on to them.
Coric said that he had known Djuric since his childhood and that he spoke to him after having been examined by State Investigation and Protection Agency, SIPA, in 2010. The witness said that he told Djuric that he should speak out if he had anything to say.  

“During our conversation Djuric told me that he had been burdened with it for a long time, adding that, in July 1992, he was granted leave of absence, so he went from Kozara to his house in Tukovi village. However, a military truck came across him and the driver offered him a ride. This was how he found himself at the problematic location in Carakovo,” the witness said.

He told the Court that Djuric was an extraordinary man and that he knew him well, so he “could not believe that he was involved in those events”.
When asked by Prosecutor Ozrenka Neskovic what problematic events took place in Carakovo, the witness said that “people were lined up and shot.
“Djuric told me that he arrived when that thing began. I asked him whether he participated in it, but he denied it, telling me that he just happened to be there and that he was burdened with that fact,” the witness explained.
Testifying at the hearing, Halid Music said that he was hiding in the woods along with other male residents from Carakovo on July 23, 1992 and that his father was among a group of neighbours who were taken away and shot in front of the local mosque.
“While we were in the woods, we heard shooting. Also, we saw a vehicle passing by. They came into the forest and took men away but we were hidden, so they could not see us,” Music said, adding that his neighbour, Sead Susic, told him that his father had been killed in front of the mosque.
The trial is due to continue on May 17.

Mirna Buljugić

This post is also available in: Bosnian