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Witness Describes Murder of Prisoner of War at Turajlic Trial

13. May 2015.00:00
Testifying at the Ibro Turajlic trial, a witness said he saw the defendant shoot a wounded and captured soldier named Mitar Zelenkovic.

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Ibro Turajlic has been charged with killing prisoner of war Mitar Zelenkovic in the area of Pocitelj in 1992. Zelenika had been wounded and offered medical assistance prior to his murder.

Ale Duric told the cantonal court in Mostar that he and Turajlic were members of the same military squad, and that on June 7, 1992, they were walking along the left bank of the Neretva river towards Pocitelj. According to Duric, there were approximately fifty of them. He said they stopped at a road near “Veledar’s houses” in Pocitelj, because they heard shooting.

Duric said that after the shooting calmed down, they walked down a small road between two walls and stopped at a smaller wall.

“We took cover there: Zaim Hasic Djaja, Zijo Hasic, Zijad Mrgan and Ibro Turajlic, while Selim Hasic was in front of the wall. There were houses behind us. The wall was in front of us, and then the warehouse for potatoes. Shots were fired. I don’t know who shot first. Selim jumped over the wall, and at that moment the bomb exploded. There was more shooting, and when it stopped, I saw that one of the two [enemy] soldiers was wounded,” Duric said.

Duric said he recognized Mitar Zelenkovic among the enemy soldiers and ran out to help him. He said he put a stone beneath the lower part of his back, and wrapped him up because he had a leg injury.

Duric said Zelenkovic asked him, “My Mitar, why did you do this,” to which he replied, “they dressed me.”

Duric said one of the other captured soldiers, named Zelenkovic, asked him what would happen to them. Duric said he told him that they would be exchanged for Kemo Bijedic and Ahmet Kelecija.

Shortly after, Duric said he heard noises behind them, and went with a few other soldiers to investigate.

“When we came back, we saw Ibro Turajlic firing at Mitar Zelenkovic from his machine gun. While he was shooting, the two Sabanovics stood behind Turajlic. We didn’t go to them, but everyone who was there with me saw who shot Mitar,” Duric said. He said the shooting continued and they returned to the tower.

“I don’t have anything against Zelo Turajlic. I would have never done this if Turajlic hadn’t put pressure on my family. I defend my interests, and everyone pays their bills,” Duric said.

The second witness, Nikola Vidic, said he was in the Civil Protection in April 1992 and worked on the rehabilitation of the terrain and the burial of the dead.

“We found three dead bodies that were lined up in an elementary school in Pocitelj. The first was Slavko Puhalo, then Mitar Zelenika, who was lying on his stomach next to him, and the third was Slavisa Zelenika. Mitar Zelenika was wearing a camouflage uniform. I didn’t notice any wounds on his back, but when we turned him over I saw gunshot wounds on his chest,” Vidic said.

The trial will continue on June 10.

Sanela Gaković

This post is also available in: Bosnian