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Witnesses Describe Attack on Civilians Near Lokanj

7. September 2015.00:00
A state prosecution witness testifying at the trial of nine former Bosnian Serb Army fighters described the murder of his brother by Bosnian Serb forces while fleeing Teocak in 1992.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Defendants Goran Maksimovic, Ljiljan Mitrovic, Slavko Peric, Mile Vujevic, Vukasin Draskovic, Gojko Stevanovic, Cvjetko Popadic, Rajo Lazareviz and Mico Manojlovic have been charged with participating in an attack on a group of civilians fleeing Teocak on July 14, 1992. They allegedly abducted 76 civilians, 67 of whom were killed in the village of Lokanj in the municipality of Zvornik.

Maksimovic was the commander of the Interventions Unit with the public safety station in Ugljevik, Mitrovic was his deputy, while Slavko Peric was the commander of the Lokanjska Company with the Zvornicka Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army. The other defendants were members of that unit.

State prosecution witness Alaga Handzic testified at today’s hearing. Handzic said he fled the village of Teocak with his brothers in July 1992, due to a food shortage and military blockade in the area. He said they travelled through the woods towards the village of Vitinica, along with other civilians from Teocak. He said someone opened fire at them while they were near the village of Lokanj in Zvornik.

“We were passing by the village of Lokanj, when they began shooting at us from an automatic weapon. They fired a whole cartridge of bullets. The bullets were piercing everything,” Handzic said.

Handzic said he and a few other people separated from the rest of the group and headed towards Vitinica.

Handzic said that shortly after he arrived to Vitinica he heard rumours that the other civilians had been killed. He said his mother tried to get more information about the victims but was unsuccessful.

Handzic said he identified his brother’s body in 1993, when an exchange of bodies was organized.

“They [the bodies] were packed separately in bags,” Handzic said. He said his brother was identified through his dental records.

Responding to questions from the defense, Handzic confirmed his previous statement in which he said that he and others had left Teocak in order to acquire weapons.

State prosecution witness Senija Bubic said she was involved in an exchange of bodies as a member of the wartime presidency of Teocak in the summer of 1993. She said many people were killed during the Bosnian Serb Army attack on Teocak.

“We requested the exchange of 72 people at that time,” Bubic said.

Bubic said the Bosnian Serb side returned the bodies of those who were killed while fleeing Teocak. According to Bubic, the families identified their victims. “One lady said, while talking about her husband, ‘I gave him socks like these,’” Bubic said.

Bubic’s testimony will continue on September 21.

Amer Jahić

This post is also available in: Bosnian