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Witness Describes Beating and Detention of Civilians in Lokanj

21. September 2015.00:00
A protected state prosecution witness testifying at the trial of nine former Bosnian Serb Army fighters said she and a group of civilians were taken to the village of Lokanj in Zvornik after having been captured by Bosnian Serb forces on July 14, 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 of the public safety station in Ugljevik, Mitrovic was his deputy, while Slavko Peric was the commander of the Lokanjska Company of the Zvornicka Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army. The other defendants were members of that unit.

A protected witness known as S-9 testified at today’s hearing. S-9 said she and more than 100 civilians left Teocak and fled through the woods on July 14, 1992. They were headed towards territory controlled by the Bosnian Army. They were surrounded by Bosnian Serb soldiers in the vicinity of Lokanj.

“We were exhausted and weak from walking through the woods. All of a sudden we heard a gunshot. They began shooting around us. We were surrounded,” S-9 said.

S-9 said she was with a group of men and three women when they were surrounded. She said the soldiers beat them while tying their hands. She said an armed soldier singled out a civilian and took him away.

“One gunshot was heard and that was it,” she said.

S-9 said they were then escorted to a house in the village of Lokanj, where they were beaten again. According to S-9, the men were then taken to a field while she and the two other women were ordered to get on a bus. She said three men who had been beaten were also taken to the bus. They were then taken to Zvornik.

S-9 said she was detained at several locations in the Zvornik area and exchanged in October 1992.

S-9 said she didn’t recognize any of the soldiers who captured her and took her to Lokanj.

The examination of prosecution witness Senija Bubic was completed at this hearing. Her testimony began two weeks ago. She said she attended the exchange and identification of people killed in Lokanj. The defense said the documentation related to the identification indicated the men who were killed in Lokanj were members of the Bosnian Army.

“As I said before, they were given that status later on,” Bubic said. She said many families didn’t want to register their deceased family members as civilians.

The trial will continue on September 28.

Amer Jahić

This post is also available in: Bosnian