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Witness Recalls Neighbor’s Abduction by Croatian Defence Council Member

3. March 2015.00:00
Testifying before the cantonal court in Novi Travnik, prosecution witness Edib Sojtaric said he watched the abduction of his former neighbour Aleksa Kostres with his neighbour’s wife. Sojtaric said Kostres was abducted by Croatian Defence Council members, including the defendant, Bruno Saric.

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Saric, a former member of the Croatian Defence Council, has been charged with abducting Aleksa Kostres from his apartment building on May 24, 1992. Kostres went missing on that date. His remains were exhumed in the area of Vitez in 2005. The abduction allegedly took place with the assistance of Zoran Tuka and Srecko Veber.

“I recognized my neighbor Srecko Veber. Later people gathered in front of the building and spoke about seeing Veber and Bruno Saric. After a month I went to Capljina with Veber and he told me that Aleksa was taken to Busovaca and that anyone with connections to Vukovar would have problems,” said Sojtaric.

During cross examination, Sojtaric was asked if he knew Saric, Tuka, and Veber. Sojtaric said he only knew Veber.

Saric’s defense attorney, Miroslav Kozina, asked Sojtaric why he is testifying about information he heard from Sajma Kostres (Aleksa’s wife), 22 years after the alleged incident took place.

“When I stepped outside I heard that Bruno Saric was there and I don’t know why someone would make that up,” Sojtaric said.

At this hearing, Saric also testified on his own behalf and said that in 1992 he was a member of the Rosa Brandis Unit of the Croatian Defence Council.

“I didn’t know Aleksa and Sajma Kostres. I learned their names when I saw the indictment. I knew about this event from the past seven or eight months, since the trial started, but I did not take part in this crime,” Saric said.

Saric mentioned seeing members of various Croatian units from Vitez and Jajce arrive to Travnik and cause problems in 1992.

“I know Veber and Tuka, but they are not members of my unit,” said Saric.

The trial will resume on March 27, when closing arguments will be presented.

Kenan Kavazović


This post is also available in: Bosnian (Bosnian)