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The Elmedin Causevic trial began with a reading of the indictment and the examination of the first prosecution witnesses at the cantonal court of Mostar. Causevic, also known as Mesar (“the Butcher”), has been charged with war crimes in the municipality of Konjic.
The indictment alleges that Causevic, a former member of the Zulfikar Special Purposes Squad with the Headquarters of the Supreme Command of the Bosnian Army, assaulted a man named Zoran Knezevic.
Causevic allegedly pushed Knezevic against a truck on the road between the villages of Lesicici and Grabovci in May 1993, and beat him with a wooden stick on his back and other parts of his body.
Zijad Lepara, the former commander of the 45th Mountain Brigade of the Bosnian Army, was the first witness to testify. Lepara said the Zulfikar Unit came to the area as additional support during the beginning of the conflict between the Bosnian Army and the Croatian Defense Council.
Lepara said he knew a soldier nicknamed Mesar, but didn’t know anyone by the name of Elmedin Causevic.
“The man sitting here in the courtroom might be him, because he’s tall and big. I can’t recognize him now, but given that he’s sitting on the defendant’s bench, I suppose he’s the one,” Lepara said.
Lepara said Mesar was wounded in the leg at Vrce and underwent medical treatment.
Causevic previously said he was wounded once on Mount Igman.
Lepara said Zoran Knezevic was a neighbour of his and told him that a member of the Zulfikar Unit had beaten him.
Fikret Dzelilovic also testified at this hearing. He said he heard that Zoran Knezevic was arrested and physically abused.
“I heard that Zuka’s Unit [the Zulfikar Unit] took Zoran to the village of Grabovica and that Zuka’s soldiers beat him up. I heard all of that, but I didn’t see it. I don’t know to what extent it’s true. I didn’t know any members of Zuka’s Unit. I knew one of them, who was nicknamed Mesar, but I don’t know the man at all,” Dzelilovic said.
Also testifying at the trial, Hamdija Masic said Knezevic complained to him during the war.
“He said, ‘Look what your people did to me,’ showing me his forearms, which had red spots on them, as if someone had pinched him,” Masic said.
The trial will continue on June 30.