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Protected Witness’ Identity Revealed

12. January 2015.00:00
Testifying in defence of Senad Hakalovic at the trial for murders in Trusina village, a protected witness says that people in his village knew that he testified before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, BiH, in 2013, although he testified under protection measures, including identity and face protection.

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Protected witness O3-3 said that, prior to his testimony in favour of indictee Hakalovic in July 2013 he was in good relations with friar Darko Drljo, but this changed after he had said before the State Court that he was surprised by Hakalovic’s arrest and that he had never heard of any bad things done by him.

“Me and my brother always helped with works around the Church, be it fruit-gathering, mowing or cleaning … Sometime after my testimony, but I do not know exactly when, me and my brother went to pick fruits and met a large group of people. Some of them turned around and left immediately, while others spoke to us. Later on one person from that group came and said that friar Drljo did not want to have any contacts with us, because we testified against them,” the witness said.

The protected witness said that his Croat neighbours bought fewer lambs from him this year in comparison to previous years and that he was told that he would not be compensated for the land in the centre of Buturovic Polje, which had been confiscated from him, “because he was in bad relations with Drljo”.

Hakalovic’s Defence attorney Kadrija Kolic said that the Defence filed a criminal report against members of the State Investigation and Protection Agency for having revealed a protected witness’ identity.

Witness O3-3 testified at the trial of Senad Hakalovic, a former member of the 45th Brigade, who is on trial for crimes committed in Trusina. He is on trial along with four members of “Zuffikar” Squad of the Army of BiH – Mensur Memic, Dzevad Salcin, Nedzad Hodzic and Nihad Bojadzic.

According to the charges, 18 Croat civilians and four captured members of the Croatian Defence Council, HVO, were killed in Trusina in mid-April 1993.

Testifying at this hearing, additional State Prosecution witness Zoran Barun, former member of the Croatian Defence Council, HVO, said that he was involved in electronic reconnaissance in 1993 and that he heard about an attack on Trusina on April 16.

“This was a sudden attack. All of us were shocked, so we did not conduct the electronic reconnaissance. I think we were not ready,” Barun said.

According to his testimony, HVO units were not able to conduct an electronic reconnaissance of all communications by the Army of BiH due to “the low-quality of our equipment and protected devices”.

While being cross-examined by the Defence of indictee Bojadzic, witness Barun said that HVO forces conducted electronic reconnaissance of Army of BiH units from Zlatar location as well, but he did not know much about it, because he did not go to that location.

Considering the fact that the Prosecution and the Defence teams did not propose any new witnesses, the Trial Chamber announced that additional pieces of material evidence would be presented at the next hearing scheduled for February 2, when the Prosecution of BiH will present its closing statement.

Denis Džidić

This post is also available in: Bosnian