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With Colleagues from Prijedor Interventions Squad

13. January 2014.00:00
Testifying in defence of indictee Zoran Babic at the trial for crimes in the Prijedor area, witnesses say that, as per an order, they were deployed to positions in the vicinity of Carakovo and Ljubija.

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Petar Civcic, who testified in the presence of a legal advisor, said that he was Commander of the First Section with the Interventions Squad of the Public Safety Station in Prijedor. He said that the Squad had two minivans, one military truck and a combat vehicle, adding that indictee Zoran Babic was a member of the vehicle crew.

“One day we received an order to go to a viaduct near Carakovo and report to the Army. We were not given any specific tasks,” Civcic said, adding that, upon their arrival, they saw Bosniak civilians, as well as soldiers.

Civcic said that he was told that there was no need for his Section to undertake any activities at that location, adding that, about an hour later he went back to the Public Safety Station in Prijedor taking the same road. The witness said that they did not enter Carakovo village and that the civilians, whom he saw next to the viaduct, stayed there when they left.
He said that he then ran some other errands and that, when he returned, his Section members were not present in the Station premises.
“I was told that they had left towards Ljubija, because a member of the Second Section had been killed there,” Civcic said.

Babic’s second Defence witness Marinko Ljepoja, former member of the First Section with the Interventions Squad in Prijedor, who too went to the viaduct, as per the order, named several colleagues, including indictee Zoran Babic, who accompanied him.

“Army members complained, saying that we always arrived when everything had already been over,” Ljepoja said, adding that they stayed next to the viaduct between one and two hours, “waiting for something, but I do not know what”.

He said that they then returned to the Station, where they were ordered to go towards Ljubija in order to help the Second Section. At that moment he found out that colleague Zujic, member of the Second Section, had been killed.
He said that all those things happened on the day of Zujic’s death some time in the summer. The Prosecution said that Zujic was killed on July 23, 1992.

On June 28, 2012 Marinko Ljepoja was found guilty of having participated in the murder of about 200 Bosniak civilians at Koricanske Stijene on Mount Vlasic on August 21, 1992. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison. Petar Civcic was acquitted of the charges for those same crimes.

Testifying in defence of Zoran Babic, Lazo Matijas, former member of the Second Section with the Interventions Squad of the Public Safety Station in Prijedor, said that he was on positions near Ljubija in the summer of 1992, when his comrade Zujic was killed.

He was not able to specify when the First Section arrived in order to help them, but he said that all of them spent the night on those positions.

Zoran Babic is on trial, along with Dragomir Soldat and Velemir Djuric, for having shot men in front of a mosque in Carakovo village on July 23, 1992.

The trial is due to continue on January 27.

Džana Brkanić

This post is also available in: Bosnian