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Witnesses Say Turajlic Wasn’t Present During Operations in Pocitelj

18. March 2015.00:00
Testifying at the Ibro Turajlic trial, witness Emir Hadziomerovic said that Turajlic was in a second group when an operation in Pocitelj took place.

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A former member of the Territorial Defence, Ibro Turajlic is charged with having killed prisoner of war Mitar Zelenika in the territory of Pocitelj in Capljina in 1992. Zelenika was allegedly wounded and received medical assistance prior to his murder.

Witness Emir Hadziomerovic said his squad was assigned military equipment in Medjugorje in 1992 and crossed to the left bank of River Neretva in the village of Pocitelj Polje.

“None of my neighbours, and there were six of us, including Ibro Turajlic, was assigned a machine gun. We walked across a big parking lot in Pocitelj and through the old part of the town towards Kapija. When we were about 20 or 30 meters away from Kapija, we heard infantry shooting, which meant that they discovered us. There was shooting from both sides. Two of our men were wounded on that occasion,” Hadziomerovic explained.

When asked by prosecutor Darko Zovko whether he participated in the operation with Turajlic, Hadziomerovic said that he was in another group. According to the witness, Turajlic was not present when they visited the area around the school building.

Hadziomerovic said after the end of the operation he saw a dead Serb soldier on the road between Kapija and the school building. “When I came by, I saw his face. I recognized the man,” Hadziomerovic said.

Zekerijah Veledar, the second witness to testify at this hearing, said he was a member of the Croatian Defense Council in 1992. He said his squad arrived to Pocitelj, in the area above the old part of the town next to the school building.

He said as they were withdrawing, he saw a dead man about 20 meters away from Klepica houses. He said he found out later on that the man’s last name was Zelenkovic. Veledar pointed out that Ibro Turajlic was not a member of his squad, which was commanded by Ekrem Veledar, adding that Turajlic therefore did not participate in their combat operations.

Desanka Zelenkovic, Mitar Zelenkovic mother, also testified at today’s hearing She said at first she had heard that Ale Duric killed her son, and that her brother-in-law Spasoje Dulac told her later on that a woman named Naza had told him Turajlic committed the murder.

Witness Smail Kurtovic said he participated in the operation in Pocitelj, but Ibro Turajlic was not a member of his echelon and wasn’t with him. Kurtovic said his echelon crossed to the other side of Neretva river between 24 and 48 hours later.

The trial will continue on April 15.

Sanela Gaković

This post is also available in: Bosnian