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Old Women’s Bodies Set on Fire in Blace

1. November 2013.00:00
At the trial for the crime committed in Blace, the witness for the prosecution said that a woman named Jasminka issued an order that the bodies of murdered old women be set on fire.

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Zeljko Juric said he found himself in Blace by accident, while he was driving water for soldiers at the frontline, and that he saw his colleagues there. They told him there were dead bodies of civilians that needed to be buried.“Muharem Ahmetovic went inside a house and immediately stormed out. He started vomiting, because the smell inside was unbearable. He told Jasna there are five old women inside and large worms were crawling all over them, he could not take them out,” said Juric, adding that he himself went inside and saw the horrendous sight.According to the witness, Jasna told Ahmetovic to burn the bodies, which he did. “It all went up in flames, God save us,” said Juric, adding that after the war he saw that the house with the old ladies was booby-trapped with mines. The second witness for the prosecution, Velemir Kilibarda, said that he ran away from Blace in May 1992. His 80-year old grandmother stayed behind in the village with several other old people, who could not run when the village was attacked.Kilibarda said his mother was killed between June 20 and 27, that’s what a neighbour told him who returned to the village from refuge. “She said my mother was all bloodied, the other one’s throat had been slit. They were in the summer house of Milutin Kuljanin, my mother, Ana and Danica Kuljanin, as well as Jelka Kilibarda,” recalled Kilibarda, adding that another old lady was killed near the summerhouse. The witness said that he later met Zeljko Juric, who told him he won’t be able to get through to Blace. Juric told him that Jasna ordered that the bodies be burnt.“Women were saying that Jasminka Dzumhur used to come to the village before and snatch gold from women,” said Kilibarda. As a witness at this trial, Jasminka Dzumhur said on September 27 she did not issue the order for the bodies to be burnt. Charged with the murder of four Serb old women in the village of Blace committed in June 1992 are Osman Brkan and Ibro Macic, former members of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the indictment, Macic fired first and then Brkan joined him. Bodies of the murdered women have not been found to this day. Rajko Majic, former driver of the Croatian Defence Council also testified at today’s hearing, saying he was in Blace in the summer of 1992 with the team of the man named Garo. They met so-called Midke’s Team, about whom Garo said they were setting houses on fire and killing civilians. “He mentioned the name of Midke and Ibro Macic,” said Majic, adding that Macic was later thrown out of Midke’s Team and joined the Croatian Defence Forces. He saw him around town in black uniform, but could not recognise him in the courtroom. The defence claimed that in earlier statements the witness did not connect the Blace event with Ibro Macic, only Midke and Kolumbo.The witness said that his brother, who was held prisoner in the Musala detention camp in Konjic, told him that Macic was some kind of commander there. “I met Garo before the trial and asked him who Osman Brkan was. He told me his nickname is Kolumbo,” said Majiæ.On seven counts of the indictment Ibro Macic is also charged with inhuman treatment and abuse of prisoners in the Musala primary school in Konjic, committed between April and October 1993.The trial is scheduled to resume on November 8.

Džana Brkanić

This post is also available in: Bosnian