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Burning Houses and Mistreating People in Kozarusa

24. December 2014.00:00
Testifying at the trial for crimes in Prijedor, a State Prosecution witness says that he was mistreated in front of indictee Mitar Vlasenko's house.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Nijaz Besic said that his village Kozarusa, Prijedor municipality, was attacked on May 24, 1992 and that the shelling lasted two days. As indicated by the witness, during that time the local population was hiding in the vicinity of Madjarusa brook and in basements.

“The shooting that came from all directions lasted two days. They shelled the site from a mine-thrower that was placed near Mitar Vlasenko’s house. Houses were on fire. We heard animals’ sounds, because they were not released from barns,” Besic said, adding that he was hiding in the basement of Sefik Mahmuljin’s house.

He said that two armed and uniformed soldiers came to the house, in which he was hiding with a few other local residents, and took them out. As per an order by Rade Vlasenko, they then took them in front of his brother Mitar Vlasenko’s house.

“Between 15 and 20 armed soldiers were present in front of Mitar Vlasenko’s and his father’s house. The soldiers provoked and mistreated us. They rubbed our heads against the ground,” Besic said, adding that he saw Mitar Vlasenko in the yard and inside the house.

Besic said that, on that day he also saw Rade Vlasenko driving neighbour Senad Blazevic’s tractor, as well as Dragan Koncar, who was leading a cow, and a car that belonged to neighbour Fadil Pasic.

“There was a lot of ammunition in Mitar’s father’s shed. The yard was full of weapons. They were shooting towards our houses,” Besic said, adding that Mitar Vlasenko told Dragan Koncar and two other soldiers to take Besic and a few other residents to Jaruge village.

Besic said that Dragan Koncar asked him if he knew where else the local residents of Kozarusa were hiding and that he showed him a dugout near Hamdija Cirkin’s house. He said that they took a few more men and women from that place with them.

The witness said that, alongside the road he saw bodes of a few killed neighbours of his.

“From that place we were transferred to Kozarac by buses. Dragan Koncar and other soldiers went back,” the witness said, adding that he saw many people there and that men were separated from women and children in Kozarac.

Besic told the Court that he was taken to Keraterm, but there was no room in it, so he was detained in a school building in Brezicani for one day before being transferred to Omarska detention camp, where he stayed for 72 days. As he said, Besic was taken from Omarska to Trnopolje and released at the beginning of October 1992.

According to the charges, Mitar and Rade Vlasenko, as well as Drago Koncar, participated in the search of Bosniak houses in Kozarac on May 26, 1992. After that they took a group of civilians to Mitar Vlasenko’s house, where they abused them. The men were then taken to Omarska, Trnopolje and Keraterm detention camps.

The three indictees are charged with having found a group of eight civilians, who were hiding in a house, while conducting a search in Kozarac on June 4, 1992. They allegedly killed those civilians afterwards.

The trial is due to continue on January 21.

Džana Brkanić

This post is also available in: Bosnian