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Kovacevic was not a Commander, Says Witness

23. February 2015.00:00
Defense witness Milisav Jankovic said that former Bosnian Serb fighter Petar Kovacevic was a rank and file soldier, and not a commander.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

The Bosnian state prosecution has charged Petar Kovacevic, a former member of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS), with participating in the murder, rape, and unlawful arrest of civilians in Visegrad. His charges include the murder of Mujo Gacko in Dobrun in May 1992.

According to the charges, Kovacevic participated in an attack on the Bosniak population in the villages of Zlatnik, Turjak, and Zanozje. During these attacks two civilians were killed and three women were burned alive in a house that had been set on fire. Kovacevic acted in collaboration with other soldiers.

Milisav Jankovic said that he was in commander Momir Savic’s company, the Third Company on Drinska, in 1992 and that Kovacevic was as well.

“Our company defended Serb villages,” Jankovic said. He said that there was also an interventions squad, but that his company had no connection to it.

Jankovic said that he didn’t know where the villages of Zlatnik, Turjak, and Zanozje were located. He said he’d never heard that Kovacevic had visited those places. “I heard that some paramilitary formations were present and that they invaded those villages,” he explained.

Defense attorney Petko Pavlovic asked Jankovic whether he had heard about the murder of Mujo Gacko. Jankovic responded by saying that he didn’t know Gacko very well and that his father had told him about his murder.

Prosecutor Dzevad Muratbegovic asked Jankovic whether local residents of Drinsko were deported in May and June 1992.  

“We did not deport anyone,” Jankovic said.

Jovan Vasiljevic, the second defense witness, said that he was recruited into the VRS in late May 1992. He was assigned to the Third Company on Drinska, commanded by Momir Savic.

Vasiljevic said that he had known Kovacevic from before the war, and said that they were members of the same company.

“I used to see Kovacevic every time I came to the Command to fetch food…Nobody could be absent for long periods of time,” Vasiljevic said. He said he he didn’t know whether Kovacevic had participated in the attacks on Zlatnik, Turjak, and Zanozje.

Defense attorney Petko Pavlovic asked Vasiljevic if he had heard that Kovacevic had killed someone during the period of May-June 1992.

“I wouldn’t say that he could have done it,” Vasiljevic said.

Prosecutor Muratbegovic asked Vasiljevic whether a certain office was located in Dobrun and whether Bosniaks were detained in it. Vasiljevic said he had no knowledge of the office or the detained Bosniaks.

Stanojka Kovacevic, the third defense witness, said that the defendant was her uncle. She said that Petar Kovacevic and his brother Budimir had a very fractious relationship. She said that in one incident, she and Petar had to tie Budimir down with rope in order to calm him down. According to Stanojka Kovacevic, Budimir was an alcoholic.

“Relations between Petar and his brother Budimir were bad…he kept yelling at Petar, telling him that he would send him to jail and that he would accuse him of all the things committed by Bijeli Orlovi [the White Eagles paramilitary unit],” she said. According to Stanojka, Budimir underwent treatment for alcoholism.

When asked by prosecutor Muratbegovic whether she saw Petar Kovacevic in May and June 1992, Stanojka said she hadn’t. She said she had heard that he was on the frontline at that time.

The trial will continue on March 2.

Emina Dizdarević Tahmiščija

This post is also available in: Bosnian